Boyne Valley Tourism invited members of the Incoming Tour Operations Association (ITOA) to Meath and Louth to showcase what the Boyne Valley area has to offer overseas groups and individual travellers. The ITOA handled a total of 493,750 tourists in 2015 and this figure is increasing year on year. These tourists make a very valuable economic contribution, spending over €510 million when holidaying in Ireland. According to the ITOA the four largest markets, which account for 96% of the total tourists to Ireland, are North America, France, Germany, Austria and Britain.
The tour of the Boyne Valley was hosted by Meath and Louth County Councils and Boyne Valley Tourism and took place over two days in October. On the agenda for day one for the eleven members of the ITOA, was: Tour of Dunboyne Castle Hotel, the former residence of Lord Dunboyne; the Floating Through Time boat trip on the River Boyne with Boyne Valley Activities where James Murray provides the history of Trim and its colourful past; After a showaround of Trim Castle Hotel, the tour operators stepped back in time with OPW Tour Guide Susan to the 12th century to hear about the lives of medieval people in Trim; the Trim Visitor Centre & Living History Centre treated the ITOA members to stories of the horrible histories of Trim in a fun and enjoyable way and the eleven guests tried on the chain mail, feeling the weight of the costumes of the medieval period; A Slane Castle Tour and visit to the Slane Castle Distillery which will officially open in 2017 was very well received by the group; The Monasterboice Inn showcased local food produce and Roseanne Donegan spoke about the recent accolade of Boyne Valley Foodie Destination 2016.
After an over-night stay in Drogheda’s d hotel, the guests were given a Walking Tour of Drogheda and were the first group to visit the new multi touch ‘Gateway to the Boyne Valley’ exhibition at the Tholsel in Drogheda, presented by Mary T Daly, Louth County Council. Afterwards crossing the road to see St. Peter’s Church, famous for housing the Shrine of St. Oliver Plunkett and a visit to Highlanes Gallery, the Municipal Art Gallery, the next stop was Boann Distillery and Boyne Brewhouse; After a short visit to the 4 star CityNorth hotel the group headed for the Tayto Park Rollercoaster to experience the Cú Chulainn Rollercoaster, Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster before departing the Boyne Valley.
Michele Whelan, Tourism Officer - Boyne Valley, who was hosting this familiarisation trip for the ITOA with members of Boyne Valley Tourism said, “Showcasing what we have to offer in the Boyne Valley to the members of the Incoming Tour Operations Association (ITOA) is very important, as the ITOA have the potential to attract a significant amount of group business to the Boyne Valley. We want to ensure that they always have a very positive experience of the Boyne Valley Destination in Ireland’s Ancient East, so that they will include it on their itineraries.”
Michele continued, “The eleven members of the ITOA were treated to first class Boyne Valley hospitality from the Meath and Louth Tourism trade and were applauded by the tour operators for their efficient and warm Boyne Valley welcome. We are planning further familiarisation trips for 2017 to showcase the quality tourism product that we have to offer in the Boyne Valley.”