Eight major US Group Tour Buyers including CIE Tours International, Crystal Travel and Tours, Globus Groups and Global Consolidated Services will arrive in Waterford.
to learn more about the ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ initiative.
This is just one of a number of events designed, hosted and managed by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, to promote its newest tourism initiative.
These buyers represent the most influential tour buyers in the US and are including Ireland and Ireland’s Ancient East in their itineraries for 2016.
Fáilte Ireland has designed a bespoke itinerary to give the buyers a first-hand experience of Waterford as part of Ireland’s Ancient East giving them a personal journey of 5,000 years of history.
When in Waterford the group will take in the famous Waterford Crystal and hear the story of Waterford as they tour Waterford’s Museum of Treasures.
A detailed presentation for the US Tour Buyers was made on Wednesday last at a networking event with Irish trade in Waterford Castle.
This was their fourth year coming to Waterford, said Tourism Ireland Promotions Executive Jean McCluskey. They’re a real top tier group of seven different businesses, mainly from the American North East.
The groups present included Globus, Sceptre (New York),Crystal Travel Boston, Destination Leisure and Golf and Gruininger Travel from Indiana.
There was also a focus on choral groups and pilgrimage travel added Jean, who reckons trade is up this year and will increase again next year. Historical groups are also interested in 1916 anniversaries, she added. The American Civil War history groups are other areas of market potential added Jean.
We stated that Waterford is the birthplace of Thomas Francis Meagher, founder of the Fighting Irish 69th regiment in the union side of the civil war and also the originator of the Tricolour. Waterford historian James Doherty has long advocated this point and
knows the potential, having discusssed it with this newspaper in the past.
Jenny De Saulles, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Programmes for Ireland’s Ancient East, explained:
“Ireland’s Ancient East is an evolving project and we are actively preparing for the tourism season next year.
“Fáilte Ireland is delighted to welcome these influential US buyers to Waterford today and we look forward to working with them to persuade their US customers to take that decision to come to Ireland and immerse themselves in a journey of discovery of 5,000 years.”
Jean McCluskey praised the trade in Waterford. The Viking Triangle, was ideal for the Ancient East and fits the programme, as is unique in Ireland and the museum visits are doing well in terms of numbers with over 500,000 visitors.
She complimented Eamon McEneaney on the Viking Triangle product and how it fits so well with the Ancient East concept.
The tour group were also impressed with the Walter Raleigh story in Youghal and also Ardmore and the Round Tower, where they stopped at the Cliff House.
The Titanic Experience in Cobh also proved a great visit, while the UCC Ogham exhibition and St Finbarrs were also visited. The group stayed in a mix of old and new hotels (four and five star).
The great American story this year is the growth in access of flights to Ireland the dollar strength.
The travel hubs are bringing in more Americans and there is even talk of Texas coming on schedule and Waterford Castle with its 140 lodge rooms may be on the schedule next year; Dooleys, Granville and Tower also do well from US coach tours.
An important point made on the visit was how well the House of Waterford Crystal is doing on The Mall. There’s a need to push this message out there added Jean, as the 2009 closure got much publicity in America and the need to promote the new facility as part of the tour programme and this is working.
The group also visited New Ross and took in the JFK experience in what proved an enjoyable visit.