A group of top travel agents from across the US visited Co Mayo last week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with American Airlines and Aer Lingus.
The agents – all representatives of top-producing American travel companies such as Ensemble, Virtuoso, Signature Vacations and American Express – were here on a fact-finding trip to Ireland, prior to attending a B2B workshop with over 120 tourism providers from across the island in Kilkenny, where they heard about the exciting programme of events which is in the pipeline for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland around the US, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential travel agents, so that they will encourage their clients to come here next year to enjoy the festivals and events of ‘The Gathering’.
One of the highlights of the agents’ visit was dinner and an overnight stay at Ashford Castle near Cong. Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Vice-President of Marketing in the United States, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential travel agents took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit County Mayo and Ireland. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important as the travel agents get to experience at first hand the wealth of things to see and do here for American holidaymakers. Our aim is that when they return to the US they are better equipped to advise their clients about Ireland when planning and booking their holidays.”
The agents’ visit was also a valuable opportunity to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. This autumn, Tourism Ireland will roll out a major programme of promotions in the US, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
“We are extending an invitation to the tens of millions of people across the world who have ancestral links with Ireland to come home next year, as well as to the many others who feel linked by friendship, business or education and to those who simply hold an affection for what Ireland has given to the world. We are also calling on expatriates and those with an affinity for Ireland to get involved and organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland next year,” said Ms Metcalfe.