Eleven top-performing travel agents from six different markets – including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, the GCC and South Africa – have been enjoying an action-packed visit around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland this week.
Their visit is the ‘grand finale’ of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Ireland Specialists’ online training programme – which is designed for travel agents and tour operators in Australia and developing tourism markets, to help them sell holidays to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. The travel agents all study six different modules on the island of Ireland, completing each module with a fun quiz. Travel agents who got full marks for each module received a special, gold certificate – and the opportunity to travel here.
Their itinerary, designed by Tourism NI, included a chance to explore Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Londonderry. The travel agents have also been competing in fun challenges each day, with the overall winner taking the title of ‘2016 Emerald Ireland Specialist’.
Aisling McDermott, Tourism Ireland’s manager Asia, said: “As a reward for excelling in their ‘Ireland Specialists’ training, we invited this group of travel agents to come and experience some of the many things to see and do in Northern Ireland and elsewhere on the island of Ireland. Familiarisation trips such as this are extremely important, as influential travel agents get to experience at first-hand our superb tourism offering; our aim is to enthuse the travel agents about the destination, so that when they return home they will be even better informed to advise their clients when planning and booking their holidays.
“2015 was a record year for visitor numbers from our long-haul markets and Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues in 2016. We have an extensive programme of promotions under way, which includes working with key travel agents and tour operators in Australia, New Zealand and developing markets.”