Fáilte Ireland targets transition year students

SCHOOLS are being encouraged to avoid the hassle of overseas trips and bring students instead on educational and activity breaks at home as part of a Government effort to boost domestic tourism.

A brochure developed by cross-border tourism agency Fáilte Ireland is being sent to second level schools, asking them to organise trips for transition years to historic sites ranging from Newgrange to Clonmacnoise. A range of activities and other attractions are also featured, in an effort to promote school tours in Ireland, where tourism was worth €6 billion in the past year.

The Discover Ireland – Educational Tours and Adventures for Transition Year Students 2010 brochure was inspired by the Government’s Ideas Campaign, seeking the public’s suggestions on ways to promote and sustain economic recovery.

“The bottom line is that we’re encouraging teachers to take their transition year educational trips in Ireland. There are no check-in queues, no baggage charges and no hassle, and it’s a practical way to support the economy while learning and having fun,” said Fáilte Ireland marketing director John Concannon.

A number of Irish tour operators have included samples of three and four-day trips in different regions, many of them mixing visits to activity centres and cultural or heritage attractions to make the breaks appealing to students with a wide range of interests.

Arts, Sports and Tourism Minister Martin Cullen said he hopes schools and students will use the brochure to explore some of the wonderful locations and activities just beyond their doorsteps. “At this time of economic challenge, their support for Irish tourism activities and Irish tours facilities is important. This brochure is full of possibilities and outlines a range of destinations and, most importantly activities, with sample itineraries on offer to transition year students.”

Around 30,000 students take part annually in transition year between completing their Junior Certificate and beginning the two-year cycle leading to the Leaving Certificate.

Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe, whose department, with Mr Cullen’s, supported the initiative, welcomed the wide range of locations featured in the Fáilte Ireland brochure.

“By opting for Irish locations for educational tours, schools will add value to students’ appreciation of our indigenous landscape, heritage and culture as well as strengthening domestic tourism and helping our economic recovery,” he said.

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