Tourism Ireland in association with Etihad Airways hosted top 10 travel agents from across India to Ireland’s largest tourism trade fair, Meet the Buyer and Mietheal 2017, which was organized by Tourism Ireland. Huzan Fraser Motivala, India Representative, Tourism Ireland who accompanied the group for this key trade fair said “India is an important developing market for Tourism Ireland and one that we are committed to growing. We have been seeing a steady growth of 12-15 % in Indian visitor arrival numbers to the island of Ireland. “The Irish Visa Applications YTD 16 have also seen a 33% increase in visa applications compared to the same period last year. Factors in our favour include increased air access to Ireland, particularly by Etihad Airways and Emirates via the Middle East. Qatar Airways will be launching an additional flight starting June 2017, which we believe will further aid connectivity. We hope that this FAM trip will help the travel trade to create customized itineraries to promote Ireland to their clients. Going forward, we will look to organize more such activities through 2017 and are confident of witnessing a growth in the number of Indian visitors to Ireland.”
The workshop brought together over 310 overseas buyers and 455 Irish tourism businesses for three days of negotiating business deals. There were approximately 12,000 face to face meetings organised over the duration of this event – allowing international and Irish operators to meet and agree business for the 2017-2018 seasons. India is one key emerging market for Ireland and we see great potential from this region. In the last few years there has been greater interest and numbers being generated from the India as more and more consumers want to explore and experience the beautiful green Emerald Isle.
In the run up to Meet the Buyer and Mietheal 2017 workshop, the India travel trade had an opportunity to experience Ireland’s iconic cities and attractions – Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Dublin, Ireland’s Ancient East and one of the most exciting and newest addition to Ireland’s long list of attractions ‘The Game Of Thrones’ tour. The Indian travel trade enjoyed the beautiful quaint city of Londonderry and Carnlough Harbour with its simple lifestyle and picturesque harbor. The Dark Hedges at Ballymoney popular as featured in the HBO Game of Thrones series was an instant hit with the trade who were mesmerized by the mythical ancient beech trees.
The travel trade visited Titanic Belfast which was voted the world’s leading tourist attraction in 2016. They also visited the recently opened Epic Museum in Dublin, which is a journey to discover the stories of Irish emigration around the world, from early times to the modern day.