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” Source: IBEF”

Ireland is expecting 15-20 percent growth in tourist arrivals from India this year on the back of new promotions offering new experiences, online visa facility and good connectivity.

“India is one of the fastest growing markets for us.

In 2018, an estimated 45,000 Indians travelled to Ireland and going forward we expect 15-20 percent annual growth from the Indian market,” Tourism Ireland director of markets Siobhan McManamy told PTI in an email interaction.

Around 38,000 Indians visited the island of Ireland in 2017, she said.

She said, Indians travelling overseas has grown significantly with rising disposable income and is forecast for the coming years suggest an even greater rise.

The British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) allows for travel to and around Ireland and the UK on a single visa creating a big opportunity for Ireland, she added.

Indian nationals visiting Republic of Ireland require an Irish visa or a UK visa under the new British Irish Visa Scheme which allows a short stay applicant from India to travel to and around both the UK and Northern Ireland with only one visa, she said.

An online visa application facility for Ireland is available to Indian visitors making the entire process seamless and easy, she added.

Ireland is planning to attract Indians with various festivals, culinary delights, international sporting events, screen tourism among others, she said.

When asked about the connectivity between both the countries, she said, “we have the best connections to Ireland with airlines like Emirates, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Increasing air connections between India and Ireland is improving and this will further drive growth, she added.

Further, she said, Ireland is planning to focus on the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) segment from India, which is constantly growing.

“We will continue to pro-actively target Indian MICE business as Ireland has always been a strong player in the Indian market. Since MICE travel and Indian corporates and business are constantly seeking new and unexplored destinations for MICE travel, we are planning to tap this market,” she added.

Ireland is also looking at targeting Free Independent Traveller (FIT) and group independent travel (GIT) and destination wedding segments, she added.