Tourism Ireland is gearing up for their first-ever virtual roadshow with the Middle East travel trade on March 8 and 9, 2021 between 14:00 – 17:00 GST. Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland and Siobhan Naughton, Trade Executive Middle East & Asia, Tourism Ireland share more details on the event.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland
Q How have the tourism offerings in Ireland evolved/ changed with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Tourism Ireland recently launched our plans for restarting overseas tourism in 2021. After a devastating 2020 with COVID-19 causing havoc for the travel and tourism industry across the globe, we strongly believe 2021 will see the restart of international travel. Tourism Ireland is actively planning for that restart with a three-phase plan – restart, rebuild and redesign. The priority for 2021 will be to restart tourism to the island of Ireland through a significant kick-start campaign, which will be launched across 12 markets, including the GCC, when the time is right to drive bookings and revenue for tourism businesses. It will deliver a very clear ‘book now’ message to create demand for holidays across the island of Ireland.
Q How is the tourism board working to promote the destination as ‘safe’ again?
Tourism suppliers from all sectors across the Island of Ireland have been implementing the newly required health and safety measures without compromising the holiday experience that makes Ireland so special and the great Irish welcome that we’re famous for. Tourism Ireland’s research consistently highlights the island of Ireland as one of the destinations holidaymakers will be most comfortable visiting when international travel resumes. While we in Tourism Ireland certainly don’t underestimate the challenges that may lie ahead, we look to 2021 with hope and optimism.
Q What can the trade in the Middle East expect from Ireland’s virtual trade show?
Twenty-five tourism suppliers from around the island of Ireland will be taking part in Tourism Ireland’s first virtual trade show in the Middle East. The two-day B2B event in partnership with TravTalk Middle East aims to promote the island of Ireland’s exciting holiday experiences and to reassure the travel industry that we are ready to welcome their clients as soon as possible. This virtual event will highlight Ireland’s boutique hotels, castles and luxury resorts and self-catering accommodation offerings in addition to the wide variety of superb culinary scene, world-class golf, outdoor, soft adventure and screen tourism experiences on offer across the island, which all boast the necessary safety charter measures.
Q How important is the Middle East traveller and what all are you doing to regain this market share?
The Middle East is a very important source market for a number of reasons. There is direct access from the UAE and Qatar to Ireland with Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. UAE nationals can visit the Republic of Ireland visa free. Other GCC nationals can avail of the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver programme. Tourism Ireland has a strategy to target the ultra-luxury tourism sector and is ensuring that the island of Ireland is ready for the high net worth market. Through hefty invest we’re rethinking luxury by creating unique, authentic, only in Ireland experiences which will attract visitors from the Middle East to visit Ireland and guarantee a holiday they’ll want to tell their friends about.
Siobhan Naughton, Trade Executive, Middle East & Asia, Tourism Ireland
Q Could you share a brief about the first virtual roadshow by Tourism Ireland?
Tourism Ireland is looking forward to hosting its first virtual roadshow in association with TravTalk Middle East for GCC travel trade across the region on March 8 and 9, 2021 between 14:00 – 17:00 GST on both days. Over the course of these two days, travel trade will have the opportunity to have one-to-one meetings with 25 key island of Ireland industry partners who will showcase the accommodation, attractions and activity offerings across the island. There will also be an opportunity to meet the team from Tourism Ireland who are based here in the region and to discuss how we can all work together to help to promote this exciting destination.
Q Who are your target audience?
Key GCC travel trade who are interested in educating themselves about the island of Ireland and hearing about all it has to offer as a luxury destination.
Q What are the benefits of participation at the virtual roadshow?
This virtual roadshow will be a one-stop shop for GCC travel trade to learn all that they need to know about the island of Ireland and to meet with key island of Ireland industry partners who can assist them with all of their programming needs. It is also a great opportunity to engage with the team from Tourism Ireland who are based here in the region and whose job it is to work with the travel trade in order to ensure that they have all of the necessary tools at their fingertips to be able to promote the island of Ireland to all of their GCC clients as a must see destination.