Thirty-five tourism organisations from around Ireland – including Ireland West Airport Knock and a number of hotel and activity providers – hit the road with Tourism Ireland in Germany last week, for a three-city travel mission, aiming to increase Mayo’s and Ireland’s share of the valuable German holiday and business tourism market this year.
The delegation visited Frankfurt which will have direct access to Knock with Ryanair this summer and Düsseldorf which will have direct flights to Knock with Lufthansa.
Also on the the Tourism Ireland led delegation was Hamburg and at all venues there was one-to-one meetings, presentations and networking sessions, involving nearly 250 top travel agents and tour operators.
The objective was to remind those influential German travel professionals about how easy it now is to reach Mayo and the west of Ireland from Germany; and to encourage them to include this part of Ireland in their holiday programmes for 2012 and beyond. Given that travel agents and tour operators continue to be the main booking channel for German holidaymakers, a key element of Tourism Ireland’s strategy is to work with the travel trade – both online and offline – in Germany.
Kristina Gauges, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said: “Germany is a priority market for Tourism Ireland. Over half the German population takes at least one holiday abroad each year, making Germany the world’s largest outbound travel market.
"Germany is the third-largest source of visitors to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has an exceptionally strong promotional programme in the pipeline for 2012 in Germany, to raise the profile of Ireland as a wonderful destination and emphasising a strong value message. Those Germans interested in taking a holiday which involves sightseeing and local culture remain our core target; Tourism Ireland is also targeting consumers who engage in outdoor activities while on holidays.
“The new Ryanair and Lufthansa flights are great news for Mayo and the west of Ireland and will certainly expand travel options for German holidaymakers who wish to visit this year. We are working closely with Ryanair, Lufthansa and Ireland West Airport Knock to maximise the demand for these new routes and boost tourism to the area.
"As an island destination, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with air and sea carriers, airports and other tourism interests to drive demand for these new flights, and all other services to Ireland, and to help maintain our vital network of routes and services.”
The German market performed well for tourism to the island of Ireland in 2011, with about 416,000 Germans visiting here, an increase of +8% on 2010. The average length of stay for German holidaymakers is 10 nights and they tend to travel to several different regions when they are here. Interest levels among Germans in visiting Ireland are high; they also tend to visit more than once, with 40% of Germans returning to Ireland for a second visit.
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