Not surprisingly, the large Spanish pavilion was a big attraction at Holiday World in Dublin, particularly the Costa del Sol, Gran Canaria and Salou stands, while Thailand, India, Mexico and Las Vegas were popular long-haul destinations, reports ITTN’s Neil Steedman.
The opening of the FerrariLand theme park later this year was attracting interest on the Spanish stand, where ITTN met with (above) Vadim Koryagin, Cambrils; Natalia Bel Llop and Juan Carlos Gallago, Salou Tourist Board; Antoinette Young, Falcon Holidays; and Teresa Gancedo, Spanish Tourist Office.
There was a good attendance during the trade-only morning on Friday. A few exhibitors said they thought agent numbers were quiet but that there were a lot of media – however, ITTN saw quite a few travel agents and Aer Lingus told us that they had been constantly busy on the stand with agents.
ITTN asked a number of exhibitors if they had noticed any fall in interest levels in the USA since Trump’s election but they all said no. However, the recent immigration clampdown and resultant confusion and protests at US airports may have some impact over the coming months.
Thailand welcomed just over 67,000 Irish visitors in 2016, a 4% increase, and a further increase is hoped for this year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s new marketing slogan is ‘Live the Thai Life’, with the aim of encouraging visitors to spend at least some time on local experiences and getting to know the Thai people and their way of life.
Jamaica was happily reporting a 56% increase in Irish visitor numbers in 2016 for the January – November period, having welcomed 2,362 in the full year 2015 and 3,474 in January – November 2016. The Falcon Holidays charter to Montego Bay had much to do with that – and may well help to produce another significant increase this year.
The Japan National Tourist Organisation, a first-time exhibitor, was making quite a (loud!) impact with its drumming performances to promote its ‘Experience Japan’ festival day to be held on Sunday 23rd April 2017 from 12 noon to 4.00pm at Farmleigh House & Estate in Dubin’s Phoenix Park.
Qatar Airways was, naturally, promoting its new daily B787 Dreamliner flights from Dublin to Doha and beyond from 12th June 2017. The 22 Business Class seats have a 50” pitch and 22” width (bed 77.7” – 80” length and 30” width) and 17” screen, while the 232 Economy Class seats, in 3x3x3 configuration have a 31” pitch and 16.89-17.28” width and a 12.1” screen. Passengers transiting in Doha for five hours or more can apply for a free pre-approved transit visa to enter Doha for up to 96 hours.
Travel The Unknown
An interesting second-time exhibitor was London-based tour operator Travel The Unknown. Established nine years ago by Greystones-born David McGuinness with co-founder Rahul Aggarwal, Travel The Unknown specialises in small group tours (maximum 12 people) and tailormade tours for individuals throughout Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and “Europe’s fringes”. David reported particular interest in Iran tours, where small group routes include Classical Iran, Glories of Persia (an archaeology tour), and Troglodytes & Assassins.