Berlin Route To Have Huge Benefits For Kerry Tourism

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Evelyn Horvath, Ryanair, Maurice Whelan, Ireland Walk, Catriona Ni Churrain, Cloghane/Brandon Tourism Group, Aine O’Sullivan, German Rose of Tralee and Noel Ryan, Kerry Airport pictured at the historic Branderburg Gate in Berlin Germany at the weekend as part of a Kerry Business delegation promoting tourism and the inaugural twice weekly Ryanair flight to Berlin from Kerry. Photo: Don MacMonagle

THE organisers of last weekend’s three-day Kerry tourism promotional visit to Berlin have hailed it an outstanding success.

The 35-strong group, led by Minister Brendan Griffin TD and Mayor of Kerry, Cllr John Sheahan, held a series of engagements with tourism trade, media and consumer groups.

They also held a high level political meeting with State President Mr Ralf Wieland in the Berlin Parliament to promote closer economic ties between Kerry, Berlin and the State of Brandenburg.

The visit was in support of the new direct Ryanair flight from Berlin to Kerry and was organised by Kerry County Council, Destination Kerry and Kerry Airport and supported by Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Berlin. Trade representatives from all over Kerry formed part of the delegation.

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The main events were hosted by the Irish Ambassador, Mr Michael Collins, at the Irish Embassy. There were presentations to the group by Tourism Ireland’s Head of Europe Finola O’Mahony and Manager (Central Europe), Zoe Redmond.

Over 70 Berlin trade and media attended the Kerry Tourism Showcase event at the embassy where Ambassador Collins, Minister Griffin and Mayor Sheahan spoke and there were presentations by Angela McAllen and John Griffin of Kerry County Council and Conor Hennigan of Kerry Airport.

Minister Griffin, who spoke in German and English, stressed the popularity of Kerry as a holiday destination for German visitors with over 250,000 now visiting the county each year, the most to any Irish county.

Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin leading a delegation of Kerry Tourism Business pictured inside the Berlin Parliament at the weekend following a meeting with the Berlin President Ralf Wieland where they were promoting tourism and the inaugural twice weekly Ryanair Kerry to Berlin flight at the weekend. Included are from left, Brendan Tuohy, National Tourism Forum, Angela McAllen, Deputy Kerry County Manager, Cllr. Jim Finnucane, German Ambassador Michael Collins, John Sheahan, Mayor of Kerry, Norma Moriarty, deputy Mayor, Mike Kennelly, Mayor of Listowel and Niall Kelliher, Mayor of Killarney. The flight will operate between Kerry Airport and Berlin Shoenefeld every Thursday & Sunday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Currently, these visitors come mainly from northern, central and southern Germany.  The potential for growth from eastern Germany is now considerable, he said, with the opening up of the new direct route to Kerry.

“Berlin is a largely new tourism market, from a Kerry perspective,” according to Mayor John Sheahan.  ‘There are 3.5 million people living in the greater Berlin area and we wanted to present Kerry as an attractive holiday option to them.”

In his speech, the mayor pointed out that the flight time from Berlin to Kerry of 2.5 hours is less than it takes to drive from Kerry to Dublin. There was laughter when he said that you also gain an hour when flying west from Germany to Ireland.

The group also participated in consumer promotions at the Irish Embassy and at the Ring Shopping Centre.

There was strong interest in English language learning, outdoor pursuits and coastal and cultural activities.  “As Berlin is five hours from the sea, coastal destinations and the Wild Atlantic Way have a particular appeal to them,” according to Caroline Boland from Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance.

“The challenge now is to build on this success,” according to Brendan Tuohy, Chairman of Destination, “and continue the momentum through further promotions and engagements.”

To coincide with the Berlin promotion Ryanair announced a special seat sale for January on the route for €12.99 to be booked by midnight, November 15  next.