Tour Agencies & Destination Management Companies

This sector focuses on attracting tourists to Ireland (as opposed to bringing Irish tourists abroad). Some employers are in the public sector, such as Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and local authorities and they focus on supporting businesses and promoting Ireland as a destination. But there are also many private sector businesses which focus on creating attractive custom-made packages for groups (business and leisure), so called Destination Management Companies.

Tourism Agencies

There are a number of key tourism agencies in Ireland which provide services to businesses in the tourism sector, as well as promoting and marketing Ireland on the global stage. Some of these agencies may have departments which focus on different aspects, such as commercial development, consumer engagement, marketing/digital marketing, business intelligence and customer relationship management, communication and international publicity. Careers in these agencies are often in the area of marketing, business and information provision.

Some of the Public Service employers in this sector include:

  • Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority in Ireland and its role is to support the tourism industry. They providing practical business supports to help businesses better manage and market their products and services to tourists. They primarily employ people with marketing or business degrees and they have staff who are experts on tourism in different regions.
  • Tourism Ireland is the agency responsible for marketing Ireland as a tourism destination overseas and is responsible for the tourism website ‘Ireland.com’.
  • Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland also collaborate with Tourism Northern Ireland to offer information, services and even funding to make it as easy as possible for businesses to choose Ireland as a destination. See their dedicated website here. Some of the supports they offer include listing of ‘Fáilte Ireland approved’ Destination Management Companies (DMC). (see below).
  • There are also seven Regional Convention Bureaux (RCBs) offering information and impartial advice to businesses abroad about ‘meeting’ in Ireland. They are located in Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Galway, Kerry, Derry-London/Derry and Belfast.
  • There is a network of over one hundred public Tourist Information Offices and Visitor Information Points across Ireland. Staff in these servicesgenerally help tourists discover local places of interest and provide independent information, free maps and guides and booking services for attractions and activities. They often also sell tourist merchandise.

Publicjobs.ie is the website where all Civil and Public Service jobs are advertised and many agencies will also advertise their jobs on their websites.

Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry

Destination Management Companies (DMC) – what do they do?

Destination Management Companies generally provide a service to groups and businesses who are interested in visiting Ireland for a wide range of reasons. Most prominently, for business reasons, but it may also be for leisure or special interests. Examples of ‘special interests’ are sport teams, agricultural organisations, religious or choral groups!

DMC’s and other inbound tour operators handle over 737,000 holiday and business visitors each year, according to the Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA).

A DMC is involved in designing, planning and delivering a program to meet the client’s needs. Regardless of why the group in question is coming to Ireland, the DMC’s job is to create a bespoke experience, to provide professional services that require expert knowledge, marketing know-how and excellent project management.

They usually do not sell ready-made packages ‘off the shelf’, like travel agencies might. Instead, they build up a relationship with the clients and with local services and suppliers to create exactly what the client wants in relation to transportation, accommodation, restaurants, activities, conference venues and incentive schemes.

DMC’s mainly employ people with a background in sales and/or marketing, as well as event organising and business. Having additional language skills can also be a huge advantage, but not a requirement in this field. Some DMCs are small companies whereas bigger ones may have call centres with many sales and customer services representatives.

Examples of careers in DMCs include, but are not limited to Accounts Operative/Manager (who may work with client relationships, procurement and contracting of suppliers, and budget management), events coordinator, sales & marketing manager and reservations staff.

Creative Careers and Wild Ideas

In marketing, brilliant ideas are always simple. The Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) is an excellent example of a simple but effective innovation of a concept, by Fáilte Ireland, which turned into a marketing campaign, which helped develop a brand and essentially has encouraged thousands of tourists to visit the west coast of Ireland.

The Wild Atlantic Way is an almost 2,500km coastline through nine counties in the West of Ireland. The work involved developing Greenways, road signage, 159 Discovery points, 15 Wonders of the WAW and, most importantly: marketing.

Take a look at this WAW advertising campaign video and consider what careers were involved in creating it!

Creativity is hugely important in this sector, but there are also other skills which are essential, such as research, planning and communication. The world of marketing is fast-paced and the work is about developing and enhancing public interest in a brand, product, or a country! This requires market research, strategies and then finally the content/advertisement. As such jobs in this field can include marketing assistant/manager/executive, digital marketing executive, brand development executive, graphic designer, photographer, videographer and marketing insight analyst.

The Wild Atlantic Way has been a huge success and it has even earned prestigious awards. For example, it was voted as one of the best self-drive routes in the world at by tourists in China!

 Are we China-ready?

In 2012, 17,000 Chinese tourists came to Ireland. And only six years later, in 2018, that number had increased to almost 80,000!

The Chinese population is over a billion, and they are increasingly travelling to Europe on their holidays. Fáilte Ireland has recognised that we need to be ready to welcome Chinese tourists – so they have developed ‘China Ready Programmes’ for businesses in the tourism sectors.

There are obviously cultural differences between China and Ireland, and having some cultural awareness can never be a bad thing when you are working in tourism and service industries. Here are some, perhaps surprising, things to keep in mind when welcoming Chinese guests:

  • The word ‘four’ in Chinese sounds similar to ‘death’ and should be avoided! So don’t book them in to a hotel room on the 4th floor! (It compares to how western people often avoid number 13). But numbers 6, 8 or 9, all are considered lucky!
  • Hierarchy is important in the Chinese culture, so deal with the group leader or most senior member first.
  • Handle things like dishes and documents with both hands as a sign of respect.
  • Make sure to offer dairy free food - many Chinese are lactose intolerant
  • They prefer app based customer service
  • QR codes appeal and are widely used in China

Chinese tourists often stay longer and spend more than other tourists do! The most purchased goods in Ireland by Chinese tourists:

  1. Skin care and beauty products
  2. Local specialties
  3. Souvenirs
  4. Clothing, shoes & hats
  5. Food