In the biggest single movement of tourists from any one country in 2012, Donegal Town and indeed the whole county is set to host over 17,000 German tourists over an eight month period commencing in March.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, the innovative hotelier, Jim White, of the White Hotel Group revealed that he will be bringing 17,000 bednights from Germany to Donegal next year and that to date almost 3,500 bookings had been confirmed less than a month after it’s launch in Germany.
Mr White said: “This is the result of many years work with our partners in Germany - Trendtours Touristik who have just recently launched the all inclusive 10 day package to Ireland at an exceptional price of just under 1,200 euro.
“I have always realised that in the hospitality business you cannot put all your eggs in one basket - you have to increase your market spread and identify new markets or even traditional markets that once again are showing signs of growth.”
He added: “Germany had been one of Ireland’s strongest markets for many years with images of The Dubliners, Guinness and an Irish Pub in practically every town in Germany.
“It slowed down for a period but now the interest is very much alive again.”
The hotelier continued: “The German visitors are very discerning and informed and know exactly what they want - they want to discover and experience the ‘real Ireland’ and that is exactly what we have put together for them.
“They will visit Ionad Crois Locha in Dunlewey and Glenveagh, scale the Cliffs of Slieve League, enjoy sheepdog trials on a local farm, experience a night of traditional music and dancing in a country pub, experience the delights of Donegal Bay on the Waterbus - to name but a few.”
“This will have a major impact on the local economy at a time when we need it most - we are currently recruiting guides and receptionists with a good local knowledge and the German language, sourcing up on 15 coaches and mini - buses to transport our visitors around while at the same time securing and enhancing the jobs of 200 people that we already employ in Donegal town.
“In association with Failte Irelandand the VEC we are arranging German language classes for our staff throughout the months of January and February ensuring our guests the best possible service.
“Years ago the Icelanders invaded Dublin every November and December bringing an unprecedented boom to the capital - this movement is of equal status to Donegal,” he said.
For full story see page 11.