Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are a popular stop on a CIE tour. // © 2012 Thinkstock
This year, CIE Tours International embarks on its 80th anniversary of providing vacationers with travel excellence, and travel agents with a lasting and profitable relationship. Offering more than 40 fully escorted motorcoach tours in Ireland, Scotland and England, CIE strives for an all-inclusive vacation that makes traveling accessible for every budget. One of the most popular destinations for CIE is Ireland — home to sprawling green hills, mystical ruins and a vibrant culture.
“Ireland continues to be a huge draw for North American vacationers, who recently gave Ireland its highest rating in 12 years for value,” said Brain Stack, president of CIE Tours International. “Ireland also remains popular because it is the closest European country to the U.S. and the people are friendly, speak English and love Americans.”
With 25 different tours operating in Ireland, agents are sure to find an itinerary that fits their client’s interest. Each experience includes the best of Ireland, with all meals, accommodations, entertainment, transport and luggage included. For the night, depending on the client’s taste and the tour, accommodations range from deluxe castles to five-star, four-star and three-star hotels. During the day, local tour guides bring Ireland’s beautiful scenery and unique history to life, providing guests of all ages with an authentic travel experience that they will remember long after their trip is over.
One of the most popular escorted tours remains CIE’s four- to five-day Taste of Ireland itinerary. Highlights of the tour include some of Ireland’s greatest treasures, such as visiting Blarney and kissing the legendary Stone of Eloquence, standing on the majestic Cliffs of Moher, partaking in a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle and sampling a pint of draft Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse. The tour begins in Dublin and ends at Bunratty Castle Hotel. Rates begin at $698, based on double occupancy.
Ireland has no shortage of historic sites, and Belfast boasts the shipyards that once built the Titanic. With the recent 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, CIE has expanded 16 of its Ireland/Britain vacation packages to include a visit to the brand-new, $150 million Titanic Belfast Museum and Visitation Center, which opened on March 31. Visitors can feel all the wonders of the famous ocean-liner, explore the lives of its passengers, experience the enormity of the ship and watch the present-day discovery and exploration of the undersea wreck.
“[The Museum] commemorates the shipbuilding tradition of Belfast and recreates the magic that was the Titanic,” said Stack.
The most popular tour that features the Titanic Belfast is the 12-day Irish Classic tour, which begins and ends in Dublin and visits the picturesque western regions of Mayo, Clare and Kerry, as well as Belfast, Derry, Waterford and Meath. Rates begin at $1,898 per person, based on double occupancy.
After 80 years, CIE continues to strive for customer satisfaction with no hidden taxes, fees or optional extras to purchase at every destination. For travel agents, CIE commits to hosting a trip that ensures that the client returns to the agency the following year.
“We ask travel agents to ‘lend’ us their clients and we will return them happier, fulfilled and eager to book with that agent again,” said Stack.
Looking forward to its next milestone anniversary, CIE Tours plans to keep growing, seeking out new destinations that will keep its programs fresh and continue its standing of being a tour operator that travel agents can trust.