There has been an 85% take-up on tickets for Ireland’s answer to the Orient Express.
A ticket on Ireland’s first ever luxury train, the Belmond Grand Hibernian, costs a minimum of €3,160 and almost every seat is booked for its upcoming season.
“85% [of tickets] are currently booked for the first season — predominantly from the US, Germany, the UK, Australia, and rest of Europe,” a spokesperson for Belmond said.
“The Belmond Grand Hibernian will do 20 trips in total in its first season from August 9 until the end of October. This is a luxury sleeper train operated by Belmond, who also run the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, the British Pullman, the Royal Scotsman, and the Northern Belle luxury trains,” added the spokesperson.
The luxury train can accommodate up to 40 guests at a time and you can take a two-, four- or six-night journey. The most expensive ticket would set you back €7,722.
Dublin, Cork, and Belfast are some of the places that will be taken in on the journeys around Ireland. Its inaugural journey in August will be the four-night so-called Legends and Loughs route and travel from Dublin to Cork and on to Killarney, Galway and then Westport.
A ticket for this trip costs €5,420 but meals, accommodation, entertainment and excursions are included.
The take-up on the tickets for the luxury train reflect the rising numbers of tourists visiting here.
In 2015, almost 8m people visited Ireland — an increase of 14% on the previous year.
Despite these record highs, Tourism Ireland plans to exceed these figures this year, drawing 8.2m visitors to our shores.
At the end of last year, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said even more will be done to attract visitors here in 2016.
“Following a successful 2015, ambitious targets have been set again for 2016 and beyond. We will unveil Ireland’s Ancient East around the world, while continuing to place a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way,” Mr Gibbons said.
So far this year, figures are already up, between November 2015 and the end of January 2016, about 271,400 visited Ireland.
Compared with the same period last year, it marks an increase of 18.4%.
Some of the people who have booked tickets for the Belmond Grand Hibernian come from Australia, which was targeted by Tourism Ireland as an emerging market to attract visitors from.
On the train, holiday-makers can dine in two different carriages and also spend time in the glass-covered observation carriage. It has taken 35,000-man hours to complete work on the luxury train.
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