*UAE tour operators in Killaloe, with Siobhan Naughton, Tourism Ireland (fifth left) and Peter McMahon, Fáilte Ireland (sixth left). Photograph: Liam Burke, Press 22.
Seven leading tour operators from the Middle East visited Killaloe this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.
One of the highlights of the group’s action-packed itinerary as part of their Irish trip was a special ‘Secret Ireland Escapes’ experience with Mark O’Dwyer in Killaloe where they enjoyed some local cuisine and the scenic views of Lough Derg. The aim of the visit is to encourage these influential travel professionals to extend the Ireland content of their programmes and itineraries.
Aisling McDermott, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Asia & Middle East, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these influential travel professionals to visit Kilalloe and Ireland, to sample some of our top visitor attractions and experiences at first-hand.”
In 2018, around 71,000 visitors from the Middle East visited the island of Ireland. As well as highlighting ease of access to Ireland, a key message for Tourism Ireland is the fact that Ireland is now visa free for UAE nationals.
“Seeing is definitely believing, there is really no substitute for being able to come here and experience what Ireland has to offer at first-hand. Our aim is that when these travel professionals return home, they will be better informed and really enthusiastic about the destination, which will in turn help to secure a greater share of their business for the island of Ireland,” McDermott added.