Tourism Ireland invited 20 top British coach and group tour operators on a fact-finding visit of the South West over the weekend, in advance of attending a B2B workshop with Irish tourism enterprises in Cork on 22nd September.
The event was organised in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, to encourage the visiting tour operators to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes or to include Ireland for the first time in their 2015 programmes.
The group’s schedule included a Gaelic games workshop and whiskey tasting at Muckross Traditional Farms in Killarney and a tour of Muckross House; a cruise of Kenmare Bay; visits to The Ewe Sculpture Garden in Glengarriff, the Mizen Head Signal Station, the Michael Collins Centre in Clonakilty and Timoleague Abbey.
The group also enjoyed guided tours of Charles Fort and Desmond Castle in Kinsale, as well as a historic walking tour of the town.
According to the latest CSO figures, visitor numbers from Great Britain have grown by 11.3% for January to July this year, an extra 178,200 visitors compared with the same seven month period in 2013.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Great Britain is the largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland and visits like this provide an excellent opportunity for us to position Ireland as a ‘must-see’ destination.”