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Ireland to tap Indians travelling to England to increase tourist arrivals

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The British Irish Visa Scheme enables Indian citizens to apply for one travel permit to visit both the United Kingdom and Ireland. While the scheme only applied to short term visas, the tourism board plans to make the best of the opportunity in order to increase Indian tourist arrivals. Speaking to Express TravelWorld, David Boyce, head of developing markets, Ireland Tourism, said, “Last year we received around 30,000 Indian travellers while this year January to August has already seen a rise of 14 per cent in comparison to last year. While we are looking at other segments like MICE, our main focus is to increase the number of leisure travellers from the India market. With the British Irish Visa Scheme working to our benefit, we look at tapping the UK travellers to extend their trips into Ireland.”

All new players had participated in Ireland Tourism’s recent road show held in India. The list included Adams and Butler, Doolin2Aran Ferries, Exploring Ireland Vacations, Limerick Travel, National Trust, Stena Line, Compass Connexions, Tailor Made Tours, Irish Greyhound Board and Irish National Stud and Gardens. Boyce stated, “India stands strong in our top developing markets with China, Hong Kong and UAE. However we have seen that many are still using the traditional icons in Ireland to explore the destination. We want to take Ireland to a new level and introduce new experiences to Indian travel agents so it can be included in their packages. Therefore we have all new players who themselves have seen more movement from the India market.”

Ireland as a tourism destination has gained huge popularity for being the filming location of hit show Game of Thrones and Star Wars franchise. It continues to attract people who wish to see the same locations. Commenting further, Boyce mentioned, “We have been heavily promoting screen tourism which has greatly worked to our benefit. But moving forward, Northern Ireland has some unique places like Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Belfast, etc which can work well for Indian packages.”

The sellers present at the meet also expressed that they have seen an increase in Indian groups and travellers.

Eugene Garrihy, managing director, Doolin2Aran Ferries, informed, “Recently we have seen an increase in Indian tourists who are looking for unique experiences. Many groups have already booked with us this year.” Similarly, Robert Mazzucchi, commercial operations manager, Tailor Made Tours, International reiterated that they have been many queries from the India market who are looking to spend more time in Ireland.