Online bookings at Gulliver Ireland, the tourist information and reservation services company, have overtaken bookings from all other sources combined, the firm has said.
The company revealed this when announcing its annual financial results with bookings of €24.5m during 2005, a 16pc year-on-year increase in total booking volume.
In 2005 almost 76,000 bookings were made over the internet, accounting for nearly 59pc per cent of all Gulliver tourism bookings, valued at €15.5m. This was the first time that online bookings were greater than bookings from all other sources. By contrast, in 2000 just 5pc of Gulliver bookings were made online.
According to Gulliver, strong regional bookings characterised last year’s performance where the regions benefited from solid bookings growth. The company attributed this growth to having implemented a focused online marketing strategy; it made “little or no spend” on traditional marketing.
GoIreland.com was the most booked Gulliver-powered website last year. It processed almost 33,000 bookings — a 63pc rise on 2004 — which were valued at more than €6.3m. During the peak season, GoIreland.com averaged more than 50,000 unique visitors and 1,000 bookings each week.
Dr Stewart Stephens, managing director of Gulliver Ireland, called for the new €5m regional tourism fund to be used to create an effective online marketing infrastructure for promoting tourism regions and sectors.
By Gordon Smith