Local tourism operator Silverline Cruisers in Banagher hit the road with Tourism Ireland in Germany last week, for a three-city travel mission, aiming to increase Offaly’s and Ireland’s share of the valuable German holiday and cruising business this year.
The trade mission included Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Hamburg – each of which has direct air access to Ireland – and involved one-to-one meetings, presentations and networking sessions for the Tourism Ireland delegation with nearly 250 top German travel agents and tour operators. The objective was to remind those influential German travel professionals about how easy it is to reach Ireland from Germany; and to encourage them to include County Offaly, cruising on the Shannon and Ireland in their holiday programmes for 2012 and beyond. Given that travel agents and tour operators continue to be the main booking channel for German holidaymakers, a key element of Tourism Ireland’s strategy is to work with the travel trade – both online and offline – in Germany.
Kristina Gauges, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said: “Germany is a priority market for Tourism Ireland. Over half the German population takes at least one holiday abroad each year, making Germany the world’s largest outbound travel market. Germany is the third-largest source of visitors to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has an exceptionally strong promotional programme in the pipeline for 2012 in Germany, to raise the profile of Ireland as a wonderful destination and emphasising a strong value message. Those Germans interested in taking a holiday which involves sightseeing and local culture remain our core target; Tourism Ireland is also targeting consumers who engage in outdoor activities while on holidays.
The German market performed well for tourism to the island of Ireland in 2011, with about 416,000 Germans visiting here, an increase of +8% on 2010.
The average length of stay for German holidaymakers is 10 nights and they tend to travel to several different regions when they are here. Interest levels among Germans in visiting Ireland are high; they also tend to visit more than once, with 40% of Germans returning to Ireland for a second visit.