19 travel agents from all across Canada travelled around the island of Ireland recently, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland.

The group represented some of the top producing travel agents from British Columbia, Alberta, Québec, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

While in Ireland, they attended a B2B workshop in the Johnstown Estate in Enfield and a networking event in the Beech Hill Country House Hotel in Londonderry, organised by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI. Both events allowed the group to network and do business for 2020 with local tourism providers.

At the Johnstown Estate workshop, over 800 one-to-one meetings between 55 Irish trade and 18 Canadian tour operators took place, with the goal of securing business for 2020 and beyond. The workshop was designed to help tourism businesses improve performance in the face of increasing uncertainty and the potential impact of Brexit, and to help them diversify into other markets such as Canada.

Paul Mockler, Head of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland, said: “Contacts and contracts made at these workshops will assist ongoing growth in Irish tourism in 2020. The Canadian buyers have the capacity to deliver significant amounts of visitors to Ireland throughout the year as Ireland continues to have very strong appeal as a destination.”

During their time here, the group also took part in a fact-finding visit, to inform and enthuse them about some of the things to see and do here for their clients. Their itinerary focused on ancient history and culinary offerings, as well as opportunities to drive business in the off-season months. They visited attractions such as Titanic Belfast, The Gobbins Cliff Path, Donegal Castle, Yeats’ Grave and Knowth.

In 2018, around 244,000 Canadian visitors travelled to Ireland, spending an estimated €206m. Tourism Ireland is continuing to grow this number throughout 2019 and into 2020.

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Canada, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these Canadian travel professionals to visit the island of Ireland, to see and experience some of the many great things to see and do here and to encourage them to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes and itineraries, or to include the island of Ireland for the first time in their 2020 programmes.”

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