Hotels market Kilkenny in West End, Far East

Kilkenny hotels have been sending out the message abroad that the county is an ideal place for business and leisure visits.

Kilkenny hotels have been sending out the message abroad that the county is an ideal place for business and leisure visits.

The Lyrath Estate Hotel was among 40 Irish tourism organisations participating in a recent workshop and networking event in London, where they met with top British conference and meeting organisers.

At the event, organised by Tourism Ireland, the various Irish tourism organisations – including hotels, professional conference organisers and convention bureaux – met with senior representatives of over 40 companies involved in the corporate meetings and MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences and events) industry in Britain. It was also an opportunity for Tourism Ireland to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013.

David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s head of business and sports tourism, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that so many of the key decision-makers from this sector took the time to attend our networking event and meet our Irish partners, demonstrating their keen interest in Ireland for conferences, events and meetings.

“Our event was also an excellent opportunity to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions in Great Britain, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, we are also working closely with decision-makers involved in the MICE industry to enthuse them about the destination and encourage them to include the island of Ireland in their 2013 programmes.”

Hotel Kilkenny and the Griffin Hotel Group were meanwhile part of the largest-ever tourism trade mission to China from Ireland, which took place recently. Eighteen organisations joined Tourism Ireland in Shanghai and Beijing for a series of seminars, workshops, networking events and media interviews in Beijing and Shanghai.

“The majority of Ireland’s overseas visitors are from the core markets of Great Britain, mainland Europe and North America, 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 emerging tourism markets in Asia like China,” said Susan Li of Tourism Ireland China.

“Since the visa waiver scheme was introduced by the Irish Government last year, there has been a noted increase in demand among Chinese tour operators for visas for Ireland,” she noted. “A number of tour operators in China also began programming Ireland for the first time in 2012, on the back of the new arrangements.”