Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain today announced a new agreement to boost tourist numbers from long-haul markets such as China and India.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, and Sandie Dawe, chief executive, VisitBritain.
The announcement was made in London, at a business event, organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce to mark this week’s state visit of president Michael Higgins to Britain.
Under the agreement, Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain will work more closely together – particularly in long-haul markets outside of Europe and North America – to promote the island of Ireland and Great Britain as destinations to be visited as part of a single holiday.
The aims of the MoU are twofold: to align the work of both agencies, combining their activities in markets where appropriate; and to increase visitor numbers and revenue to both the island of Ireland and Great Britain from long-haul markets.
Gibbons said: “We already enjoy a very good working relationship with our colleagues in VisitBritain. However, under this new, mutually beneficial agreement, we look forward to working even more closely with them.
“For the island of Ireland, the majority of our overseas visitors come from Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new tourism markets, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which we believe will play an increasingly important role for travel and tourism.
“Given that visitors from these markets are travelling considerable distances, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense for Tourism Ireland to co-operate with VisitBritain – to target people travelling to Britain and encourage them to visit the island of Ireland as part of their trip, and vice versa.”