Meitheal Had Added Advantage (ico) This Year


ITOA member, advantage ico, worked with the Trade Engagement team in Failte Ireland to organise  the networking events for Meitheal at the CCD and The Guinness Storehouse.

Failte Ireland appointed advantage ico after a competitive tender process. Services provided to the Failte Ireland Meitheal team included event management, venue selection and liaison, event production, props, décor, collateral, actors and entertainment.

Both events were very well received with the CCD event featuring the introduction of the Wild Atlantic Way by way of an exhibition of relevant product over pre-dinner drinks, video after dinner and an Irish choir to finish.

The Gathering at The Storehouse took participants on a journey from where the word Meitheal came from via stunning Irish food to contemporary performances from up and coming Irish acts, Perfect Friction and Hermitage Green finishing with a Ceili Mor in the Arrol Suite.

Ronan Flood, Managing Director advantage ico said “ we were delighted to win the tender to manage these prestigious and important international trade events organised annually by Failte Ireland.  Creating memorable and exciting experiences for the evening entertainment events is critical to the overall success of the Meitheal Workshops”.

Travel Trade Gathering at Meitheal Workshop 2013

300 International Travel Trade, including ITOA members attended this year’s Meitheal Workshop in Dublin on Tuesday 23rd April and Wednesday 24th April 2013.

This annual event is one of Ireland’s most important sales and networking event, with 300 international travel trade buyers attending to contract tourism product for 2014 and beyond.

Many of the overseas buyers partner with ITOA members who manage and handle trade partners Ireland programmes.

While The Gathering 2013 is the theme of the workshop this year, Failte Ireland took the opportunity to launch the ‘Wild Atlantic Way a coastal touring route under development between Kinsale in the south to the Inishowen Peninsula in the Northwest.

The project will be completed in early 2014 and provides a dedicated touring route 2,500Km long hugging the Altantic seaboard of Ireland’s rugged and stunningly beautiful.

Watch the video below for a flavour of the new route. ITOA members will be happy to provide further information on how best to experience the Wild Atlantic Way now and from 2014.



Continued Growth in ITOA Members Businesses in 2012

Following a recent council meeting of ITOA members, President Gerry Nicholls reported that members were generally satisfied with business performance thus far in 2012. Overall members were projecting further growth on the excellent recovery experienced in 2011.

President Gerry Nicholls said “ Our 2011 ITOA Member Business Report  [opens in PDF] launched mid-year showed significant signs of a return to growth with overall members businesses reporting a 20% increase on 2010.  There was particularly good recovery from the North American market in 2011 with 30% growth experiences and ITOA members handling 21% of the total promotable visitors to Ireland last year. Europe also continued to deliver strongly with France, Germany and Austria being the star performers”.

ITOA conduct a business survey with members at the beginning of each year and while in its early days, the general view is that cumulatively single digit growth is expected on 2012 business.  “This recovery has been hard won by ITOA members and the level of sales and promotional activity undertaken in the overseas markets is the primary reason for this good news .

ITOA members spent over 6.5 million on sales and marketing activity last year and over 1,500 man days in the markets which is equivalent to 7 full time sales staff in the markets every week.  Our members are winning business for Ireland not just for the short term but a year to two years in advance, so the time and budget we invest in a given year in the overseas markets is about medium to long term business with 2014 already firmly on the radar.

There is no doubt that there is still good business to be written for 2013 with shorter lead in time, particularly with the Gathering 2013 initiative really gaining momentum since September of this year.  ITOA members are playing their part in the promoting and delivering the Gathering message internationally and have been doing so since early this year.

The Gathering Ireland 2013 Initiative Gathers Momentum

Watch this video above for a peek into what to expect during The Gathering 2013.

The Gathering Ireland 2013 has been well and truly launched this month.

There has been lots of promotional activity on the Gathering Year 2013 by ITOA members through their international travel partners since its initial launch earlier this year.  But September has seen a significant gear change in promoting next year’s celebration  both at home and internationally.

“The initiative is certainly now capturing the imagination of the domestic audience with the promotional activity around at the Emerald Isle Classic Notre Dame Navy Game and the All Ireland Croke Park Hurling Final along with an extensive advertising campaign nationally and community meetings taking place the length and breadth of the country where ideas are being activated to organise gatherings and welcome home events in 2013” says Ruth Andrews, Chief Executive ITOA.

In tandem,  Tourism Ireland are promoting the year long event throughout the international markets, organizing events to engage key Diaspora to ‘be a part of it’ by coming home of organising their own events in Ireland next year. Extensive targeted communications are also a key feature of the promotional activity in many of the main overseas markets and providing trade support to incorporate The Gathering message in their 2013 programmes and itineraries.

“It’s a simple idea really – when ITOA came up with this initiative some years ago it was an idea that provided everyone with the opportunity to invite people to Ireland, ask for the business and promote all that is great and good about this country and its people;  an opportunity to highlight and promote the extensive range of annual festivals and events that have the ability to attract visits to the destination be they of Irish decent or visitors who simply have an affinity with Ireland  – a trigger to encourage them to visit Ireland in the Gathering year.”

Watch that space and as the Gathering Ireland message says – don’t miss your chance to be a part of it.

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