Irish Tourism Industry Visits Auckland

Irish Tourism Industry Visits Auckland

A delegation from Tourism Ireland visited Auckland early November for the biennial trade mission to Australia and New Zealand. Supported by Emirates, the nine representatives were joined by Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland, and NZ Tourism Ireland representatives, Darragh Walshe and Mary Galway. The following report is by Stu Freeman, Director of ProMag Publishing and Travel Inc. in New Zealand.


Lunch on the Auckland Harbour for Kelsen Butler, Sportsinc; Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland, Australia & NZ; Darragh Walshe, Tourism Ireland; Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland; and Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland

Speaking to industry members at lunch on the Floating Pavilion on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, Gibbons outlined that tourism to Ireland brings in NZ$5 billion per year, creating 250,000 tourism related jobs. This past year has seen a record 24,000 Kiwis travel to the Emerald Isle, and he attributes this in part to the direct, daily Dubai – Dublin service introduced by Emirates in January this year. “It’s two jumps from Australia and just three from New Zealand (from Auckland) and travellers land straight into Dubllin – no transiting through London or European points. Another plus for visitors to Ireland is that the hotels are the third cheapest in Europe,” says Gibbons.

Top 10

Ireland is in Emirates’ top 10 for selling destinations and Chris Lethbridge, Emirates, says there is potential to increase capacity further into Dublin should the need arise. As an incentive to retailers, he mentioned that the top sellers of the EK Earlybird deals will be participating on an exclusive fam trip to Dublin in 2013.

The Gathering, a one-year-long Irish event, kicks off New Year’s Eve and has drawn attention from across the globe. Gibbons set out some of the events taking place including a gathering of twins, people with red hair, and name gatherings, e.g. – the Jones, or his particular favourite, the Gallagher clan, which hopes to gather 5,000 clan members to the town of Donegal.

A light lunch was served and Mary Galway, Tourism Ireland, suggested diners try the ‘Hot Irishman’, something Mary put together herself. For those who thought differently – it was actually a type of Irish coffee.


Looking forward to two ‘Hot Irishmen’ were Mandy Veale, Mondo Travel, and Penina Momoisea, Air New Zealand


Irish delegates Peter Brazil, Limerick Travel, and Odhran Dunne, Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau, update Chris Paykel, Emirates, on the merits of the Emerald Isle


Tony Laskey, Contiki, meets with Sally O’Brien, Aran Island Ferries, and John Callely, Jameson Distillery


Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland – Australia & NZ, and Darragh Walshe, Tourism Ireland


Prize draw winner Anne Van Dyke of Travel Managers (second left) is presented with her Irish land arrangements by Gillian Little, National Trust / Causeway Coast, Sally O’Brien, Aran Island Ferries, and Alison Deegan, Manor House Hotels


To your health: Stephanie Bennett, Rongo Productions; Gillian Little, National Trust/Causeway Coast; and Mary Galway, Tourism Ireland; with their ‘Hot Irishmen’


Chris Paykel, Emirates; Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland; and Chris Lethbridge, Emirates


Melissa Wallace, Eurolynx Travel, and Mary Galway, Tourism Ireland


Chris Paykel, Emirates, and Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland

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1 Comment

  1. Mary Galway

    November 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Cheers Neil, nice to see some New Zealand ‘Ireland’ coverage, Mary

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at

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