India has become one of the world’s fastest growing travel markets, with UNWTO predicting that India will have over 30 million outbound visitors by 2020. In the past five years, Ireland has recorded a sizeable increase in tourist arrivals from India. Tourism Ireland estimates that 25,000 – 35,000 Indians visited the island of Ireland in 2016, a 20% year on year increase.
In 2015, the British Irish Visa Scheme was launched in India which allows tourists, business visitors etc. to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa. BIVS has been a fantastic breakthrough for increasing tourism from India to Ireland. Great Britain annually attracts over 400,000 tourists from India and with BIVS. This audience becomes a potential opportunity for Ireland. Some of the early wins since the BIVS launch in India are the total number of Ireland itineraries which have increased significantly; with 243 itineraries featuring the Republic of Ireland and 121 itineraries featuring Northern Ireland currently. 24 new travel trade bodies have also introduced Ireland into their itineraries.
Air access to the island of Ireland from India has also improved significantly. In 2017 Qatar Airways launched a daily flight from Doha to Dublin and Etihad increased to twice-daily flights. Both these airlines have excellent connectivity to multiple key and secondary Indian cities. We have over 300 flights operating per week to Ireland from India. Dublin Airport reported that the number of Indian origin destination traffic has seen a growth of 30% since 2015.
Overall airline capacity from India to Ireland has increased. There is additional capacity by Middle-Eastern carriers and other good connections from European carriers. The top 3 airlines used by Indians are Emirates Airlines, Eithad Airways and British Airways.
Some comments from the Irish Industry working with Indian tour operators is as under:
“MyHolidayIreland, part of Limerick Travel group, has been working in the Indian market since 2012. It has been a wonderful journey since first visiting the country and numerous occasions since, meeting with many trade partners. The market has grown year on year for us since we first programmed tours to Indian travel trade – Tour operators and travel agents and MICE corporations. The incentive business has been buoyant throughout this time. The sales mission we have joined over the years has been absolutely excellent from the minute we land in Mumbai to depart in New Delhi. The platform and opportunities it provides to Irish participants to meet India’s top travel companies is second to none. We have made wonderful connections throughout these sales missions and continue to look forward to make many more.”
- Peter Brazil – MyHolidayIreland
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of Indian visitors recorded at the Giant’s Causeway over the past few years. India has been identified as having the fastest growing outbound travel market in the world after China and we recognise the future potential of this market for the Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland. With Tourism Ireland’s support, we have been pro-active in targeting and developing this market by participating in Sales Missions to India, sales calls and facilitating familiarisation visits and fact-finding trips for Indian travel trade and media. We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 TI Sales Mission to India and it has helped us to build relationships with the Indian travel trade and media and raise the profile of the Giant’s Causeway as a UNESCO World Heritage Site whilst also promoting the stunning scenery and attractions of the Causeway Coast area. We will look forward to welcoming many more visitors from India to the area in the years ahead.”
- Alexandra Mehaffy – National Trust
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Tourism Ireland India
Market Contact: Huzan Fraser Motivala
Tel: +91 808 066 1620