By Cillian Doyle.

With international tourism once again looking unlikely in 2021, Fáilte Ireland’s travel trade event fair Meitheal is more important than ever.

Summer 2022 is the goal, as over 90 businesses from the South-East are part of 484 across the country, all vying to sell their tourism experience to tour operators around the world.

Each of the 216 buyers represents tens of thousands of possible tourists to reignite Ireland’s hospitality sector next summer, with international travel accounting for 70% of the sector’s usual income.

The head of Ireland’s Ancient East says the region’s hotel occupancy was ahead of the national average last year.

Brian O’Flynn was speaking as Fáilte Ireland’s travel trade fair is aiming to attract hundreds of thousands of international tourists back into the region for next year.

Hotel occupancy was as high as 80% in the region last summer when restrictions were lifted.

Speaking to Beat News, Brian O’Flynn says a strong infrastructure is as important as the attractions:

“Waterford Greenway is going to be extended from Dungarvan right into New Ross – and that will take you through more of the region and will help you with how you explore – bookended by various attractions along the route regardless of the weather – there is enough to do in the region and that will encourage people yo stay.”

O’Flynn also added that their focus is on having a strong summer:

“Our focus from a Fáilte Ireland perspective in the short term – is making sure that we are making the most of this season as things do open up – so we would see that the opportunities for the South East in the short term over the summer would be – yes, primarily domestic – but in the long term we do need to see the return of that international market as it accounts for 70% of the tourism revenue for the sector.”

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