The west is all a-twitter as top tourism bloggers are brought on a tour of the region

THE west was awake on twitter all this week after 40 of the world’s top travel and tourism bloggers were brought on an exciting trour of the west of Ireland, courtesy of Failte Ireland.

The bloggers from more than 10 countries who arrived in Ireland to attend the TBEX Europe 2013 conference in the Burlington Hotel Dublin byut were brought on the tour of the west to see and tweet the delights the region has to offer.

While the delegates were here Fáilte Ireland, in association with a number of tourism businesses in the west, facilitated them in fully experiencing all Galway and Mayo can offer by putting together a number of exciting press tours with lots of photo opportunities and great story ideas. It is anticipated these bloggers will be a major boost to Ireland’s profile as a tourism destination.

The bloggers started on Saturday getting a taste of the Wild Atlantic West Coast Experience (#WAWWest ) which includes sailing on a traditional Galway Hooker in South Connemara and taking a guided coastal/marine walking tour with Walking West Tour Guides before heading to Killary Adventure Centre where a number of exciting experiences awaited them, such as a kayaking, high ropes and clay pigeon shooting.

The group headed to Galway city to enjoy a walk through the lively Latin Quarter and have dinner. On Monday the group went to Spiddal to experience traditional culture at Cnoc Suain and on to the Twelve Hotel in Barna where Fergus O’Halloran showcased the West of Ireland in food before finishing the day with a Segway adventure tour and a “Gore of Galway” walking tour of the City of the Tribes.

The group overnighted in Cashel House Hotel and Zetland Country House in Connemara, and in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway City during their stay.

Fáilte Ireland Head of Operations, Fiona Monaghan today emphasised that this is a great opportunity to create a major impression to tens of millions of online followers as the TBEX delegates explore Galway while they are here and share their experiences with the world.

“Everyone has it in them to be a travel writer and the trend is for this to become even more prevalent. Some travel bloggers have already been exploring Ireland ahead of the conference and their priorities brought a fresh dimension on places in Ireland we might think we already know, an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ sensibility.

“Obviously, travel bloggers are different to regular media folk – with more focus on capturing the ‘now’ and sharing news, tips, photos, anecdotes, video and commentary while they travel. More than conventional travel writers, bloggers are looking for ‘out of the ordinary’ experiences or new and different angles to traditional destinations,” she said.

TBEX, the Travel Bloggers Exchange, is the world’s largest conference and networking event for online travel journalists and travel industry companies, with previous conferences generating some millions of online impressions. This year’s conference will bring over 600 delegates from across the globe and is an excellent opportunity for the Irish tourism industry, trade and travel brands to promote Ireland and engage with the world’s most influential travel bloggers and leading digital content creators.

TBEX Europe 2013 is the world’s largest conference and networking event for online travel journalists and travel industry companies and its previous conferences have generated fantastic coverage for host countries.

Why is hosting TBEX such an advantage?

Social Media and mobile devices has ensured that there has been a fundamental shift in the way travellers and destinations interact. Travellers have more choices and more detailed information, while destinations have more ways to connect and stay connected potential visitors them than ever before. The most successful destination marketers understand this new reality and have adjusted their communication strategies over the last few years to make social media more central to their work.

What are the trends regarding travel and Social Media?

40 per cent of travellers said social networks influenced their travel planning, while 50 per cent actually based their travel plans on other people’s reviews and experiences, according to a recent Google survey.

Rich digital content is of significant importance. For example, YouTube has become the second largest search engine globally.

The number of channels to consumers has increased significantly with proliferation of digital and mobile channels.

Social networking is forcing a new way to connect with consumers using social and word of mouth marketing.

Mobile phone social media usage is rising significantly.

Personalisation (where technology is used to allow the delivery of information, products or experiences that are customised to individual preferences and needs ) is now expected and assumed.

A Fáilte Ireland study (2012 ) into the use of new technology by tourists in Ireland has found that the use of mobile devices is expected to surpass traditional computer internet use by 2014. In this digital age of the internet, iPads, Xboxes and smartphones; the modern traveller is hands-on and want to actively engage with their environment. They want to learn more and do more in the places they visit and will use their smartphone to do this.


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