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Value for money is best 'failte' for visitor

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IN November, l,000 German travel agents were brought to Ireland to promote Ireland as a tourist destination.

A total waste of taxpayers' money.

Travel agents are now more or less a thing of the past. Most of us use sites like TripAdvisor to find out the pros and cons of the country we hope to visit

It is cheap flights and affordable accommodation that inspire people to travel to new destinations, not images of luxury hotels with gourmet meals.

One would have to thank Michael O'Leary with his cheap flights for allowing most of us to visit cities we hardly heard of 10 years ago.

It is time Failte Ireland was brought into the 21st century.

First of all, it could link up with the 1911 Census National Archives Website and start to tackle the UK market seriously.

A UK visitor told me she had been in Ireland three days before she heard an Irish accent. No one she dealt with in the hotel was Irish.

She could have been in any part of the world, except for the weather.

She wanted to re-immerse herself in Irishness, but she would have met more Irish people at home back in Coventry.

She wanted to see the townland her parents emigrated from, but who could she ask?

Coventry, Manchester, London, Birmingham and Glasgow have enough Irish people to fill all our hotels, but they want value for money.

On my yearly visit to Stafford to visit my cousins, the d'Arcys (descendants of granduncles who emigrated from Oughterard in the 1870s) I was able to get a beef dinner for around £7 in the local pub. My cousin Gerald told me that there is a discount for pensioners.

Why not have something like that here to attract UK pensioners?

All most people want is a half-decent place to stay, good music, friendly locals and reasonably priced mid-day meals. Even our fast food outlets are much more expensive than their equivalents in Paris or Carcasonne.

It is not the minium wage that is the problem, it is the profit margins which are crippling Irish tourism.

Extending a welcome to Failte Ireland to 21st century technology

Nuala Nolan

Bowling Green, Galway

Irish Independent