Agents travelling with Tourism Ireland and Transat Holidays on a FAM throughout Ireland were given the opportunity to meet with a host of suppliers in the destination during a mini-trade show in Killarney on Tuesday.
In the midst of a seemingly endless parade of mouth-watering Irish meals; fishing experiences off the coast of Dingle; boat and jaunty car tours in Killarney; and kissing the Blarney Stone, the agents met with some 13 Ireland suppliers at the Malton Hotel.
The trade night was hosted by Failte Ireland, the country's national tourism development authority, and Tourism Ireland. Its aim was to give agents the chance to meet face-to-face with a variety of Ireland’s in-destination travel suppliers and get to know their products.
Agents and suppliers first mixed it up during a cocktail reception. After, the agents took to an assigned table for the destination showcase where they were given five minutes for a "speed dating” style meeting.
The suppliers hailed from Ireland’s Kerry-Killarney, Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula regions and represented products ranging from tours to properties.
The agents and suppliers who spoke to TRAVELHotNews.com throughout the event were very pleased with the opportunity the trade evening provided them with and were resoundingly encouraged with the connections they were able to make.
Agents added that they had never experienced the mini-trade show element during a FAM trip prior to the Tuesday evening event, but that they would like to see the idea possibly included in future FAM trips because it expanded their networking opportunities with suppliers they would likely not have the chance to otherwise meet.
Suppliers in attendance included Ballyseedy Castle Hotel, Dingle Benners Hotel, Siasma Tíre, Kerry Craft Trail/Original Kerry, Buckley’s Tours, Lake Hotel, Dromhall/Randles Hotel, Malton/Killarney Park Hotel, Carrig County House, Park Hotel Kenmare, The Moorings, Port Magee, Kerry Woolen Mills and Muckross Traditional Farms.
Following the destination showcase, Jenny des Saulles, client services manager, Kerry, Failte Ireland spoke about Ireland as a significant destination in 2013 as it prepares to host The Gathering, and Kerry in particular for what it can offer to agents’ clients.
“If we look forward at 2013, it’s a very special year for us here in Ireland and I’m sure you’ve been talking a little bit about it,” said des Saulles.
“People have asked: what is The Gathering? The Gathering is a year in which we are inviting anyone with an emotional attachment to all things Irish to visit Ireland. So we are not only targeting those ancestral diasporas with family links to Ireland, but also those who know about and love Ireland… Ireland has a bigger and better festival schedule,” des Saulles said.
The FAM continued rolling on into Cork on Wednesday before it returns to Dublin for the final day.