With 40 days remaining before the Brexit deadline, tourism businesses are ramping up their preparations by attending Fáilte Ireland tailored workshops targeting the UK and Canadian markets.
The first of the two workshops took place earlier this week in Carrick-on-Shannon, where Irish tourism businesses sold directly to some of the UK’s top tour operators.
Up to 945 one-to-one meetings took place with the goal of securing business for 2020 and beyond.
Similarly, over the next three weeks 21 British and 18 Canadian tour operators will attend workshops hosted by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Tourism Ireland, where more than 1,755 one-to-one meetings with 130 Irish tourism businesses are scheduled.
The workshops are designed to help tourism businesses improve performance in the face of increasing uncertainty and the potential impact of Britain’s proposed withdrawal from the EU.
“Contacts and contracts made at these workshops will assist ongoing growth in Irish tourism in 2020,” said Oonagh Kelly, trade and sales platforms manager with Fáilte Ireland.
“The UK buyers have the capacity to deliver significant amounts of visitors throughout the year as Ireland continues to have very strong appeal as a destination.
"While it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of the impact that Brexit will have on the tourism industry, research has shown that it is the number one concern amongst businesses.
"Our key message for all businesses is to ‘prepare and diversify’ and Fáilte Ireland is working closely with tourism businesses to support the development of a world-class industry in the face of challenges on the horizon.”
In a major milestone that will have profound future effects on tourism, the 40th anniversary of the founding of formal diplomatic relations between Ireland and China was celebrated earlier this month at a conference attended by His Excellency Xiangdong He, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, and a special delegation of Chinese travel buyers.
China is one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world with numbers predicted to grow to 200 million by 2020.
“Recent years have witnessed a sound development momentum in bilateral relations with friendly exchanges and fruitful pragmatic co-operation in all areas, including tourism industry,” said the ambassador.
“Ireland is one of China’s important tourist markets in Europe, and the number of Chinese citizens visiting Ireland has increased significantly.”
Through its China Welcome and China Ready programmes, Fáilte Ireland is working to support the tourism sector in its capacity to provide a welcome to Chinese visitors reflective of cultural needs.
In 2018, Ireland welcomed an estimated 100,000 Chinese visitors — a figure Tourism Ireland plans to double to 200,000 by 2025.
“China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years,” said Siobhan McManamy, head of markets at Tourism Ireland.
“We were delighted when Ireland won a ‘most promising overseas destination’ award in China earlier this year for our social media activity aimed at Chinese travellers.”