Heavy Meitheal: Pivotal event for Irish tourism sector gets underway

450 Irish businesses pitch to over 230 international buyers from 17 countries at Fáilte Ireland’s flagship trade event.

The largest and most important trade event for the Irish tourism industry gets underway today (20 March) at the Gleneagle INEC in Killarney.

Running since 1975, Meitheal is Fáilte Ireland’s annual flagship trade event, which is organised in partnership with Tourism Ireland, to provide Irish tourism businesses with the opportunity to sell directly to top international buyers and tour operators.

“Creating a strong pipeline of future business is key for the recovery of tourism and seeing the demand for the Irish tourism product with international buyers at Meitheal is fantastic”

Significant business deals are expected to be signed over the next three days as more than 450 Irish tourism providers will pitch their business to 232 international buyers and tour operators from 17 countries. 

The countries represented are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and USA, including online Travel Agents.

Recovery of Irish tourism sector

“Trade events such as Meitheal are hugely important for the recovery of the tourism sector and the significant number of international buyers attending shows the demand for holidays in Ireland amongst international audiences,” said Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

“Throughout the pandemic, we focused on supporting the tourism industry to survive and now, we are beginning to see the sector recover with the return of the overseas market. For a small island, we have a huge amount to offer from world-class scenery, hospitality, activities, attractions, culture, heritage, and food so it is fantastic to see so many Irish businesses and international buyers coming together to do business at Meitheal this year.” 

The best of what is on offer across Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Ireland’s Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin, will be showcased with the aim of being scheduled on the itineraries of the global tour operators. Key themes and trends emerging this year are sustainable travel options, immersive outdoor experiences and festivals.

“Creating a strong pipeline of future business is key for the recovery of tourism and seeing the demand for the Irish tourism product with international buyers at Meitheal is fantastic. Each international buyer represents tens of thousands of possible visitors to Ireland, and their business will be hugely important for tourism and hospitality businesses, communities, and destination Ireland as we continue to work towards recovery.  

“Fáilte Ireland is committed to and focused on the sustainable development of tourism across Ireland. Despite the extremely challenging years the industry has experienced, we have managed to maintain and grow a strong pipeline of new exciting tourism attractions, activities and experiences throughout the country to attract visitors from both at home and overseas.

“With the significant investment in the tourism product in recent years, there are many new or improved attractions and experiences on offer all around Ireland that buyers will be learning about over the next three days. They will experience first-hand the depth, breadth and quality of the Irish tourism product, and I have no doubt they will leave Meitheal 2023 with many new additions to itineraries and countless reasons to sell Ireland to their clients,” said Kelly.

Prior to Meitheal, international buyers have been participating in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the country. Experiences and attractions from across Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, and Dublin, were included on bespoke itineraries designed by Fáilte Ireland to showcase the best of Ireland and unique holiday experiences.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.