Updated: 09/11/16 : 07:25:06
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Sligo’s tourism drive for 2017 kicks off in London

Seventy (70) Irish tourism businesses – including the Sligo Park Hotel and Culture & Heritage Tours Ireland (based in Ballinode) – are joining Tourism Ireland in London this week, for World Travel Market (WTM), the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar. WTM heralds the beginning of Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2017 season.

Over the next three days, the Irish companies will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2017. Organisers estimate that more than £2.5 billion’s (about €2.8 billion’s) worth of business was done at last year’s WTM.

With about 180 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland aims to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel professionals in attendance. The organisation will highlight Ireland’s unique offerings for potential visitors around the world, including the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of Irish tourism companies at World Travel Market once again this year is extremely welcome. Since the UK referendum on Brexit, Tourism Ireland has been closely monitoring developments in the British outbound travel market. As our nearest neighbour and our largest market for overseas tourism, Britain will remain a priority for us. The depreciation of sterling against the euro since the referendum means that value for money will be a key message for us in Britain next year.

“Looking to 2017, it’s likely that Brexit will impact on consumer confidence, which in turn may have consequences for holiday travel demand – especially on travel from Britain. However, we will continue to work with our industry partners to highlight the ease of getting to the island of Ireland from Britain, with almost 240,000 seats by air and 45,000 car spaces on ferries every week, as well as the wide variety of things to see and do on holiday here. We are committed to making 2017 another strong year for Irish tourism.”

Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan; Albert Dawson, Culture & Heritage Tours Ireland (based in Ballinode, Sligo); and Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland, at the London event.

Now in its 37th year, World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with more than 50,000 travel professionals from around the world and 3,000 international media in attendance.