Fifteen top travel agents from around Italy enjoyed an action-packed four-day trip to Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin recently.
Their fact-finding visit was the grand finale of Tourism Ireland's Irlanda online training programme for Italian travel agents, designed to help them sell holidays to the island of Ireland.
Each year, the top-performing 'VIPS' (Very Irish People) are selected to visit Ireland on completion of their training.
Invited here by Tourism Ireland in Milan, the travel agents' itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland.
During their time here, the group got to sample some of County Meath's top attractions, including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Newgrange and the Brú Na Bóinne visitor centre.
The travel agents also visited Tankardstown House, near Slane, and enjoyed an afternoon of team-building activities at Causey Farm, near Kells.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland's Manager in Italy, said: "As a reward for excelling in their training on selling the island of Ireland, this group of travel agents got to visit some of Meath's most popular visitor attractions. Familiarisation trips such as this are vital as influential travel agents get to experience at first-hand the superb tourism product on offer in this part of Ireland; our aim is that when they return home, the travel agents will be better equipped to advise their clients when planning and booking their holidays."
She said Italy was an important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme in place to grow tourism from this market for 2011.