The mission, which was facilitated by Meet on the WAW’s UK representation agency Axis Travel Marketing, had two main objectives. One was to raise UK awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way, the 1,600-mile stretch of dramatic coastline edging the Atlantic Ocean. The second was to showcase the world class MICE capabilities of its four main partners: Cork Convention Bureau, Kerry Convention Bureau, Meet in Galway and Shannon Region Sports and Conference Bureau.
Meet on the WAW’s inaugural mission to the UK saw the partners meet with eight different UK agencies over the two days, culminating in a fun educational event with Meet in Ireland at the Ham Yard Hotel in London which attracted no less than 65 agents. Other activity included a successful social media campaign with an impact of over 2 million, in which the agency who re-tweeted #MeetontheWAW’s tweets the most on each of the two days won trips to the region. The winners were TAG Global Events and the Windsor-based events agency Penguin.
Michelle Murphy, rep from Meet on the WAW says: “The UK is a major target market for us and as such we were overwhelmed by the response and positive feedback we received from the local agency community. The best way to see what the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer though is to experience it firsthand and we look forward to converting some of the flood of interest into bookings and welcoming a lot more events organised by UK agencies in the months and years ahead. She adds: “Having started the ball rolling in the UK we look forward to flying the flag further afield in the months ahead so look out for us at events such as IBTM, IMEX and IMEX America and come find out even more reasons why you should Meet on the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Axis Travel Marketing’s Business Development Director Chris Jordan says the UK agencies were impressed by the region’s ease of access, with two international airports, Shannon Airport (SNN) and Cork Airport (ORK) and two regional airports Knock Irl West (NOC) and Kerry Airport (KIR), and extensive road and rail links to Dublin. Other strong selling points included the wealth of world class facilities, such as Killarney Convention Centre, the National University of Ireland Galway Conference & Event Centre, Universities of Limerick and Cork; the wide range of accommodation options, from historic castles and country homes, to local owned and managed hotels, and international chain hotels with state of the art meetings facilities such as The Malton Hotel and Conference Centre, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway, Trident Hotel and Fota Island Resort in Cork.
Of great appeal to the UK Agencies is the breadth of cultural, historic, sporting and leisure activities available on the WAW leading to exhilarating and diverse incentive and meetings social programmes, all set against a spectacular backdrop. The Wild Atlantic Way offers some of the worlds’ top 10 Golf courses, Ireland’s largest and oldest National Park, the world’s second largest natural harbour and oldest sailing club, historic universities, luxury spas, high octane water and land adventure sports and a passion for local artisan foods. Some incentive ideas include: food foraging, luxury yachting, sea/lake kayaking, medieval banquets, walled garden picnics, Irish shebeen nights, star gazing from Dark Skies Reserve and so much more.
Jordan says: “The Wild Atlantic Way offers a staggering range of options for MICE bookers; all set against a backdrop of some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery, and having one central point of contact for the four main partners for the first time makes it easier than ever for MICE bookers to find the perfect solution to their needs.
“Moreover, the local offering for MICE bookers just keeps on improving. The region is seeing unprecedented levels of inward investment, with Donald Trump, for example, having launched the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, County Clare, and new owner JP McManus significantly investing in improving the MICE capabilities of the five-star Adare Manor resort near Limerick. He adds: “With Belmond set to begin operations on its luxury Grand Hibernian train service launching next year the buzz on the ground is palpable. There really never has been a better time for UK agencies to consider holding events on the Wild Atlantic Way.”