The longest established and most important travel trade event for the Irish tourism industry took place this week at the CityWest Hotel last week.
Running since 1975, Meitheal is Fáilte Ireland’s flagship trade event, which is organised in conjunction with Tourism Ireland, and enables businesses in the Irish tourism industry including Mayo to pitch face-to-face to hugely influential international buyers from across the Globe.
This year’s event was the most significant in Meitheal’s history especially with the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looming.
Meitheal brought together nearly 600 Irish tourism businesses including representatives from Mayo’s tourism trade including the Twin Trees Hotel, Ballina Manor Hotel, Westport Walking Tours, Westport House, Knock House Hotel, Ballycroy National Park, O'Malley Ferries and the Michael Davitt Museum and 300 international buyers and tour operators from more than 22 countries including Britain, Germany, France, the US, the Middle East, China and India.
Meitheal is the only event of its scale that brings overseas buyers to Ireland to meet tourism businesses directly on home ground and is invaluable for the Irish trade.
The overseas buyers were also brought on several fact-finding tours across the country, including Mayo’s attractions such Glen Keen Farm, Westport House, Electric Escapes (electric bike tours ), Cleggan Mountain Boardwalk, Museum of Country Life, Foxford Woollen Mills, Jackie Clarke Collection, Connacht Whiskey Company, Ceide Fields and the Ballycroy National Park by Fáilte Ireland last weekend, ahead of attending Meitheal. These bespoke itineraries were designed by Fáilte Ireland to give the overseas buyers a first-hand experience of what holidaymakers can expect to see and do while in Ireland.
Speaking about the importance of this event to Mayo, Fáilte Ireland’s Eve Costello, Manager for the Wild Atlantic Way emphasised:
"Last year was a ‘best-ever’ for tourism in Ireland. The industry now generates €7.8bn in revenue and employs 260,000 people. To maintain this momentum the industry must intensify its international sales focus, showcase Ireland as a highly authentic holiday destination; and demonstrate a willingness and ability to adapt to ever-changing markets and consumer preferences.
"Through initiatives like Meitheal, Fáilte Ireland works closely with Tourism Ireland to select, attract and host high quality international buyers at Meitheal. We also work hand in glove with tourism partners in Mayo to find ways to develop and enhance our offerings to attract visitors from all corners of the globe. I’m confident our overseas delegates will see first-hand what it is that sets Ireland apart as an outstanding visitor destination."