Sri Lanka Tourism attended the Holiday World Show for consumers and trade in Dublin, Ireland for the fifth time. Ireland is a country with a population of just over 4.7million, and a tremendous appetite for travel that shows no sign of declining. Since attending the holiday show in January last year, we have had a 23.9% growth on the Irish market with 9806 visitors coming to SL in 2017.
Vistors at the Sri Lanka stall
The Holiday World Show, now in their 27 th year, provided a cost-effective opportunity to connect face-to- face with the trade and travel hungry consumers to promote our travel and tourism products to consumers across Ireland. This is the only show in Ireland where one can meet more than 500 travel professionals from 50 countries. Visitors had the opportunity to experience the locations that were on offer and have the first hand advice from the travel professionals.
The exhibition was attended by over 750 travel and tourism professionals, representing more than 50 different countries / tourist boards. During this year's January Holiday Show, 41,433 visitors including trade and public attended and 584 exhibitors also participated. During the show, SLTPB managed to disseminate a large number of Sri Lanka themed / specific brochures and fact sheets.
During the three-day show, SLTPB managed to have meetings with large numbers of trade partners as well. Goody bags containing Sri Lankan gifts were presented to few leading Irish tour operators for their efforts. Among them were Go Hop, Insight Vacations and GTI Travel Specialists.
Meetings were held with the following journalists in the view of arranging individual trips or a media FAM to get the maximum publicity for the destination in the Irish market. Discussions were held with David Gordon, broadcaster and writer, Four Monkeys Media, Rebecca Brady, Producer, RTE TV Channel, Julian Bolger, Bride and Vow Mag, Shauna McCrudden , Associate Editor, Sunday Independent , Jamie Ball, freelance journalist , Irish Times, Isobel Conway, Travel Writer, Travel Talk, Michelle Johnson, freelance journalist, The Novel Traveller, Conor Power freelance journalist, Various Publications.
The enthusistic crowd at the Sri Lanka stall
On the opening day, Nalin Perera from SLTPB represented Sri Lanka at the opening ceremony of the Holiday World Show. The chief guest at the opening was Mr Shane Ross TD - Minister of Transport, Tourism & Sport in Ireland and Mr. Cormac Meehan, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association.
After the opening ceremony, as a result of the request made by the UK office, SLTPB organised a meeting with the VIP's to brief them on the progress of Sri Lanka tourism in the Irish market and their vision for the future. The Hon. Minister was very pleased with the 23.9% growth that we have achieved and requested us to assist them to bring visitors from Sri Lanka to Ireland. Two very special Sri Lankan gifts were presented by Nalin Perera to Mr Shane Ross TD - Minister for Tourism in Ireland and to Ms.Maureen Ledwith, Sales Director of Business Exhibitions Ltd, the company behind the Holiday World exhibition with the presence of Mr. Cormac Meehan - President of the Irish Travel Agents Association.
Sunday Independent is the most popular newspaper in Ireland with the highest circulation. Ms. Mary O'Sullivan is the Travel Editor at Sunday Independent who has been to Sri Lanka on a FAM and over the last few years, we have had journalists from the newspaper visiting the destination. As such, after the recent trip in November 2017 by Mr Marsterson, an extra feature was published in the show guide on Sri Lanka which extended extra publicity for the destination.
Mr. Eoghan Corry is an international award winning Irish journalist and Editor of Travel Extra, who is regarded as the most extensively journeyed travel writer in Ireland; he visited SL in 2015 with the journalist FAM. Free travel and tourism seminars titled “Let’s talk Travel” were conducted by him at the show. In one of his seminars he highlighted Sri Lanka as one of the best destinations to travel in 2018. In recognition of his efforts in promoting the destination in the Irish market, a special Sri Lankan gift was presented to him.
This year, Trail Finders highlighted Sri Lanka very prominently. Their competition at the show was a holiday to Sri Lanka and together with that, a very special offer package was promoted through their large screen at the show. Few other tour operators also had special offers to Sri Lanka which were highlighted very prominently at the show through various leaflets.
The leading economists in Ireland have confirmed that the Irish economy is booming again with the unemployment rate expected to dip below 5.5% this year and GDP forecast to grow by around 4%.
The Irish outbound travel market is one of the strongest in Europe. Increased purchasing power and the rising standards of living have resulted in a sharp increase in travel abroad and a growth in tourist expenditure. Geographical proximity and the strong ethnic ties have made the UK, Spanish Islands and the Mediterranean as the main elements of growth. But now the Irish travellers and consumers have started looking further afield for their travels and adventures and have focused on areas such as the Far East and the Indian Ocean.
According to the Central Statistics Office in Ireland, there was an increase of 7.2% in the number of overseas trips made by the Irish residents to other countries in 2017 to 7.9 million. With the arrivals of the large companies into the country due to the tax incentives and with the low unemployment rate, people have disposable income to spend on holidays as pre- recession times.
Meetings were also held with the large to medium sized, very high profile operators in the view of promoting the destination and arranging a FAM. Key travel companies such as GTI Travel specialists, Travel Mood, Insight vacations Ireland, CTM Travel Management, Trail Finders, Budget travel, Club Travel, Follow the Camino, Go Hop, and Sunway also participated at this fair.
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