Ireland is one of those destinations that gets high word-of-mouth recommendations from visitors, whether it’s praise for the friendly people, the lush scenery or the incredible historical sites. But even if your clients agree with James Joyce’s assessment that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake,” Ireland has plenty of other ways to please your clients, as you’ll see in our cover story, “Irish Charms” (page 14).
As part of that story we interviewed Gary Murphy, president of Brendan Tours. Gary’s father, Jimmy Murphy, also of Brendan, was born and raised in Ireland, and much of Gary’s life was spent visiting with relatives there. Today, Brendan Tours is one of the biggest tour operators to the country, so Gary has a wide range of knowledge about the Emerald Isle.
Over lunch recently, Murphy told me that for tour operators the trend in Ireland as in most places is to emphasize unique, local activities. Clients don’t want to be hit up to buy anything, and they don’t want to feel like everything they do is solely a commercial experience, they want to feel like they really were able to get to know a destination and its people a little better than before. So they might “value lunch with a local sheep farmer over even the most incredible historic attraction,” he said.
After reading the story, check out our Web site, TravelAgeWest.com. There you’ll find an interview with Murphy where he shares his ideal 24 hours in Dublin. It’s just great to hear a virtual local like Murphy talk about a place he clearly cares a lot about. Just click on the “Cover Story” link and look for the sidebar.
On another subject, while we generally don’t like to blow our own horn, every so often it’s only right to acknowledge the success of our contributors. We believe TravelAge West has the best writers of any trade publication, and our numerous accolades back us up. Just last month, at the Western Chapter meeting of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) in Honolulu, six of our regular contributors and I brought home writing awards! Richard Carroll, Fred Gebhart, Yvonne Horn, Maribeth Mellin, David Swanson, Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi and I all were acknowledged. You can read stories by these award-winning writers at TravelAgeWest.com. K.S.