Agents to have luck of the Irish

Travel agents and tour operators Gulf-wide could soon be heading to Ireland if plans for a series of fam trips to the destination come to fruition.

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By  Gemma Hornett Published  August 18, 2006

Travel agents and tour operators Gulf-wide could soon be heading to Ireland if plans for a series of fam trips to the destination come to fruition. Leo Fewtrell, the former manager of Dnata Holidays and Events, who has established his own specialist marketing agency, LF Consultancy, has been appointed by Tourism Ireland to educate the trade in the GCC about what Ireland has to offer the Middle East market. With Ireland’s national carrier Aer Lingus now flying direct from Dubai to Dublin three times a week (since March 28) and Gulf Air operating a service to the Irish city via Bahrain (since November 2005) also three times weekly, the time is ripe to plan educational trips, Fewtrell told ATN. “Ireland has never really been sold in the Middle East before, but it’s a great combination with England and Scotland and travellers from the Gulf region are increasingly looking for new destinations,” he said. “We will take a couple of fam trips before the end of this year and maybe early next year too.” Initially Fewtrell will conduct one-to-one sales calls in the UAE, Bahrain and Oman and once he employs more staff, KSA, Qatar and Kuwait will also be targeted. Help is also on hand from Jacqueline Campbell, managing director of Dubai-based PR and marketing company, The Travel Collection, who is responsible for promoting Ireland to the region’s press and consumers. She told ATN that since Gulf Air and Aer Lingus launched their Dublin services, load factors for both airlines on this route had been 70% plus. “Many travel agents are already selling Ireland as an incentive destination, plus Emirates offers Ireland as an add-on [to the UK] and Gulf Air Holidays is featuring the destination in its brochure,” said Campbell. “It’s not only inbound that’s picking up. More tour operators in Ireland are starting to promote Dubai heavily too.”

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