Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland; Elizabeth Nallen Bowen, Hotel Minella; Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; and Rhys Bowen, Hotel Minella
A major tourism push for 2020 kicked off when a delegation of Irish tourism businesses – including Clonmel's Hotel Minella – joined Tourism Ireland in London at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM).
World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with around 51,000 travel professionals from 182 countries and regions around the world attending, including 3,000 international travel media.
Given that recent research undertaken by Tourism Ireland confirms a heightened risk of consumers postponing holidays – due to the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit – World Travel Market has never been more important for Irish tourism than it was this year and the 80-strong delegation represented Ireland’s largest ever presence at the event.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD also attended WTM.
Tourism Ireland will launch its full marketing programme for 2020 to the wider Irish industry early in December.
In 2019, the organisation invested €45 million on promotions in Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and emerging tourism markets.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “World Travel Market has perhaps never been more important for us than it was this year. So, the record number of Irish tourism companies attending this year was extremely welcome – particularly given the uncertainty around Brexit and the hugely competitive marketplace in which we’re operating.
“As our nearest neighbour, Britain remains an extremely important market for Irish tourism. We know that it’s a market with a strong affinity with Ireland and that British visitors are more likely to visit Ireland all year round and to travel more widely around our regions, including border areas, more than other visitors.
“Our message – and that of the entire Irish tourism industry – is very simple. Whatever happens with Brexit, our welcome will continue to be as genuinely warm as ever; our people will continue to be funny and full of chat; and our landscapes will continue to take your breath away.
“Together with our industry, we will be marketing hard in Britain and across the world to deliver that message – from now right through 2020 – and to provide the reassurance that potential visitors and our travel trade partners overseas need to hear.”
Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Shannon Heritage, said: "Shannon Heritage is delighted to support Tourism Ireland again at this year's World Travel Market in London. This is a key event in our calendar, as we cement future business for our attractions with our key tour operator customers and engage meaningfully with other tourism stakeholders in the Mid-West region to showcase the best of what our region has to offer – including our increased connectivity through Shannon Airport for visitors."
The Irish tourism operators attending the three-day WTM will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2020. Organisers estimate that, in total, £3 billion’s (about €3.46 billion’s) worth of business was done at last year’s WTM.