100 tourism enterprises attend Tourism Ireland’s first-ever India seminar
Tourism Ireland’s first-ever India seminar took place today (Thursday, 30 January) in Dublin, for the increasing number of Irish tourism enterprises interested in welcoming Indian tourists in 2014 and beyond. The event was attended by Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar and HE Mrs Radhika Lal Lokesh, Indian ambassador to Ireland, as well as 100 tourism companies from all around Ireland.
Tourism Ireland aims to grow the number of Indian tourists to the island of Ireland from the current 21,000 per year – capitalising on the fact that India is now one of the fastest-growing tourist-generating countries in the world, expected to reach 50 million outbound visitors by 2020. Factors in our favour include increased access to Ireland, particularly the increased services for 2014 by Etihad and Emirates via the Middle East; as well as the Visa Waiver Scheme, which makes it easier for tourists from emerging markets like India who are visiting Britain to also visit Ireland – without the cost or hassle of applying for a separate visa.
Reflecting the growing interest among Indian travellers in Ireland as a holiday destination, one of the world’s top tour operators, Kuoni India, launched a new, dedicated Ireland brochure for 2014 at today’s seminar – the first Ireland-only brochure ever produced by an Indian tour operator.
Attendees at today’s seminar – who included hoteliers, B&Bs, visitor attractions, film companies, golf tour operators and destination management companies – heard expert advice from business leaders from the Indian travel industry as well as the latest update on Indian travel trends and lots of practical advice and tips about how to promote effectively and ultimately to grow business from this market.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar, said: “India is one of the fastest-growing tourism markets in the world. Although the numbers visiting Ireland are relatively small, the Indian market has significant potential for growth. Air access is improving all the time, and Emirates and Etihad have both announced double daily services from the Middle East to Dublin. Ireland was recently named the best emerging destination at India’s Lonely Planet Travel Awards, and today the first ever Ireland-only brochure by an Indian travel company is being launched. We are already promoting Ireland through Indian travel agents and tour operators, and extensively online. Visitors are also being encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the two stars from the Bollywood movie Ek Tha Tiger, which was partly shot in Dublin. We are determined that Ireland will be a top destination for the 50 million outbound tourists predicted from India from 2020.”
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said: “India is an important emerging market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. With a rapidly-growing middle class and rising disposable incomes, the number of Indian people travelling overseas has grown by about +12% over the past six years; and forecasts for the coming years suggest an even greater rise. While visitor numbers from India are small, when compared to our established tourism markets, it is important to remember that visitors from India spend more than the average visitor and typically stay longer than visitors from closer-to-home markets.
“I am delighted that so many of our tourism industry partners from right around the island of Ireland signed up to attend our India seminar today; it is really encouraging to have such commitment and interest in the market. The seminar provides our partners with a greater understanding of the Indian market as they plan for the future.”
India is one of the fastest-growing tourist-generating countries in the world. The United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) forecasts that the number of international Indian travellers will reach 50 million by 2020. The spend on outbound travel has doubled in the space of just six years and is expected to surpass US$28 billion by 2020. Whilst most first-time Indian travellers are more comfortable visiting close-to-home destinations such as South East Asia, more experienced travellers are now opting for longer-haul destinations like Europe and the USA.