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The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia
Tourism Ireland and Irish tourism operators have travelled to Russia this week for a travel trade mission in Moscow and St Petersburg – in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
The trade mission will involve meetings and sales calls with top travel agents and tour operators from the main regions of Russia, as well as other Russian-speaking CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: "Research shows that some of the main motivators for Russians when choosing a holiday include 'natural scenic beauty' and 'history and culture'; these are two areas for which the island of Ireland is renowned. This week's mission will see us step up our promotional efforts in the market to grow our share of Russian tourism business to Western Europe and boost awareness of the island of Ireland among Russia's growing middle classes who have the potential to come here on holidays.
“In 2010, Russian tourism business to the UK increased by +23pc and since the visa waiver scheme was introduced here by the Government in 2011, there has been a noted increase in demand from Russian tour operators for visas for Ireland. This market could play a part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond."