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Tourism body looks to push online market for holidays

TWO-thirds of every tourism businesses in the Shannon Region now have a presence on the Internet, according to Shannon Development.
As the region moves to build on its €125m home holiday market, the tourism company said that e-marketing will be an important part of their 2006 strategy. "Two in every three tourism businesses in the Shannon Region now have their own websites and the Shannon Development tourism website provides direct links to most of these businesses.

"During 2006 we will actively promote this site in conjunction with Failte Ireland. The site shannonregiontourism.ie features special value holiday offers and comprehensive information on accommodations, activities, attractions and entertainment in the Shannon Region," said Shannon Development's senior tourism marketing executive Kevin O'Loughlin.

He was speaking in advance of the Holiday World exhibition which will travel to Limerick, Dublin and Belfast and will be the launch event for the new Shannon Region holiday brochure.

"Spend by holiday and leisure visitors to the region has grown to dver €125m annually. Tourism is now Ireland's largest indigenous industry; and the Ireland market is the most important market for most tourism businesses in the Shannon Region.
"In a bid to further grow this business, Shannon Development are

launching a new Shannon Region holiday brochure as part of a major home holiday campaign," said John King, director, heritage and tourism, with Shannon Development.

The 24-page brochure highlights the different activities and holiday packages available in the Shannon Region and visitors to the Dublin Holiday World show will be given an opportunity to enjoy a free SurIIDg lesson with current Irish senior champion John McCarthy from Lahinch Surf School when they visit the Shannon Region tourism stand.

Over 100,000 prospective holidaymakers are expected to attend the Holiday World event and offers a platform for the development of tourism in the various regions over the next year.

"A particular focus of our marketing efforts in 2006 will be on electronic marketing. Over 1.2 million Irish people are now online and 92 per cent of these have email. Travel and holiday accommodation are now the most common internet purchase. As these numbers continue to grow, more and more business will be generated through electronic marketing," Mr King said.