Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has backed a Tourism Ireland initiative to bring more tourists to Ireland from India. A delegation of Irish tourism companies is travelling with Tourism Ireland to India, to take part in a four-day travel trade mission in Mumbai and Delhi this week – in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
The trade mission, which kicks off tomorrow, involves a series of B2B workshops, presentations, sales calls and networking events with influential travel agents and tour operators from around India – providing an excellent opportunity for the participating Irish companies to showcase their product and do business face-to-face with key Indian decision-makers. The Irish companies will also be interviewed by some of the main travel and lifestyle journalists in both cities.
Although use of the internet for planning and booking holidays is on the increase, travel agents remain extremely important in India; so, the principle objective of the sales mission is to build awareness among the top travel agents and tour operators about the many things to see and do on a holiday or business trip to Ireland and to encourage them to include the destination in their future travel programmes and brochures.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: ‘I’m delighted to see the Irish travel trade taking up this opportunity to develop the Indian market. India was one of the first tourism markets I visited as Minister for Tourism and it has vast potential for Ireland. While our short-term focus is The Gathering, I would like to congratulate the Irish companies involved in this mission for taking this great opportunity’.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core tourism markets of Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by India and the other BRIC countries. Since the visa waiver scheme was introduced by the Government in 2011, there has been a noted increase in demand from Indian tour operators for visas for Ireland. Latest estimates by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) suggest that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020 and we believe this market could play a significant part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”
2012 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s long-haul markets. And indications for 2013 are also positive; Etihad’s announcement of a +35% increase in capacity on its service from Abu Dhabi to Dublin this year, in addition to the Emirates service via Dubai, mean that it is easier than ever before to get to Ireland from India. Also, the visa waiver scheme, introduced by the Government in 2011, is enhancing Ireland’s popularity as a holiday destination for Indians – making it easier for them, and for travellers from other emerging tourism markets, to come to Ireland on holidays.