Nine leading journalists from France are visiting Westmeath and Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Brittany Ferries. The group is made up of writers from various travel and lifestyle magazines and websites, as well as regional newspapers in France, with a combined audience of over two million readers - or potential French holidaymakers for Westmeath and Ireland.
One of the highlights of the group’s visit was a tour of Kilbeggan Distillery, where they had the chance to sample the whiskey. They also enjoyed lunch at The Pantry restaurant.
Tourism Ireland recently unveiled a new strategy to grow visitor numbers from France and Germany over the coming three years. The plan, ‘Germany and France - A Strategy for Growth’, sets out challenging and ambitious targets, which will see the number of French visitors to the island of Ireland grow to 512,000 (+17 per cent ) by 2016.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite this group of influential journalists to Westmeath and Ireland. Seeing is believing - so fact-finding visits like this are an extremely important element of our publicity and PR programme in France; they are a really effective way for us to get positive exposure for Ireland through the media, helping us to showcase the superb tourism experience on offer in Westmeath and Ireland to millions of potential French holidaymakers. 2013 was a record year for French visitors to Ireland and we are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. I am confident that our new focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in French visitors, between now and 2016.”