The Grass Is Always Greener In Ireland

with Caroline Booth

Alison Metcalfe, Tanya Warren &
Dana Welch Tourism Ireland

Suzanne Meade, Edward Hotels

Mary Hartnett, Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa
talking with agents

The sun is shining, the sky is crystal clear and the temperature outside is, well, cold. That's the kind of Spring it's been here in Toronto, which is disappointing for many, but for agents busy organizing itineraries for clients seeking some relief, it serves as a benefit. So where in the world does one go this time of year, or any time of year, where the temperature is milder and the land more lush? Ireland or course!

Braving the brisk air one morning earlier this week were some 50 agents who gathered at The Cathedral Centre in downtown Toronto to participate in a Group Travel Workshop hosted by Tourism Ireland. Agents had an opportunity to meet with Irish Industry partners to learn about opportunities for building their group business.

“Ireland offers a very good fit particularly as it relates to cultural tours, houses & gardens tours, choral performing groups as well as faith based tourism", said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland's Executive V.P., United States & Canada. “That's some of the themes we're focusing on today together with food and culinary tours as well."

When questioned about the Canadian interest in Ireland the response was positive. “There's lots of great connections from a heritage standpoint between Canadians and Ireland as well as being such a wonderful destination," said Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland's Marketing Manager, Canada. “And now that there's year round access it's a great time to visit."

The proof of Canadian presence is in the numbers. Suzanne Meade, Business Development Manager for Edward Hotels (a parent company for 3 separate hotels) reported that 2015 is already showing a 10% increase over 2014. “The kinds of groups that we're seeing include multigenerational and corporate. Young travelers love The g Hotel which is very modern, and older travelers love the Hotel Meyrick which is more traditional."

Another partner that mentioned multigenerational groups was Jim Deegan of Railtours Ireland. “There can be as many as 25 people in a family." This rail touring operator offers first class tours with itineraries ranging from 1 to 9 days including overnights in historic hotels and castles.

According to Metcalfe, Canadians are travelling more and more in the shoulder months and they're realizing the value. It's easy to get to, it's less crowded, everything is open."

And lets not forget the climate advantage. “Standing here in Toronto, it's Spring and -10. In Ireland it's +10, the grass is greener and the Daffodils are out so it's a good time to go.

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