New 2008 Chartered Air Service from the Netherlands to Donegal Announced
The first direct flight from Rotterdam to Donegal landed at Donegal Airport (Carrickfin) at 12.35 p.m on Sunday last. The flight carried top media representatives from Holland and brought back 24 Dutch Travel agents to Holland who had already spent four days in Donegal. The flight was part of the preparatory work now underway by top Dutch tour operator Buro Britain and partner agencies Donegal Airport, Failte Ireland, Saoire Failte and air carrier VLM from Belgium.
The Charter Service will commence on April 28th 2008 and will run on a weekly basis for 20 weeks until the end of Sept. VLM will use a Fokker 50 plane and the service will bring 1000 Dutch visitors directly into the heart of Donegal for the 2008 tourist season. Buro Britain already bring 6000 visitors a year by sea and air from Holland into Ireland (via Dublin) and these visitors have an average length of stay of 10 days in Ireland. Buro Britain will now have a major focus on Donegal both with the new direct charter flights and through their Dublin service.
Paul McLoone, Failte Ireland North West headed a reception party for the Dutch media and travel agents at Donegal Airport on Sunday last.
“Failte Ireland, together with the partner agencies, will immediately commence a €120,000 marketing campaign in the Dutch market and we are targeting 10,000 bed nights generating 5 million in total revenue from this market in 2008” stated Mr. McLoone. He added “We have been working behind the scenes on this service for the last two years and we are extremely grateful to Ivo ten Broek, Buro Britain, Shaun Rodgers, Saoire Failte, Pauline Sweeney and Anne Bonar, Donegal Airport for bringing this project to fruition. The Amsterdam office of our sister agency Tourism Ireland are at an advanced stage of planning for the rolling out of the joint marketing campaign and we are extremely confident that we will make this service a success. We will officially launch this service in Rotterdam in November and hopefully it is only the beginning of route development for Donegal Airport” concluded Mr. McLoone.
Shaun Rodgers, Managing Director of Saoire Failte who are based at Donegal airport and who will handle arrangements at the Donegal end of the operation stated that he was very pleased at the announcement of the new service. “We are offering eight holiday packages in Donegal based on either a 7 or 14 day stay including general tours, de luxe breaks and activity trips. We have also arranged with Avis rent a car to add 30 additional cars to their fleet based at Donegal Airport for the 2008 season.”
Pauline Sweeney from Donegal Airport stated that it was a great day for the airport. “Our Dublin and Glasgow services have been going from strength to strength during 2007 and the new charter announced is a natural progression to the services available from Donegal . The new service will benefit all of Donegal and the North West as the Dutch visitor likes to explore the region which they visit” stated Ms. Sweeney.
Ivo ten Broek from Buro Britain said that he has worked in the Dutch market for the past 20 years and that he believes the Dutch visitor will just love Donegal. “I am extremely confident that this service will be a great success as the satisfaction rating from Dutch visitors to Donegal is always extremely high” he told the audience at Sunday’s reception.
The travel agents from Holland travelled throughout the county last week and were extremely impressed with the product on offer. It is expected that further groups of media and travel agents from Holland will visit the county before the service commences in April next.