A familiarisation trip with a twist that showcased Tourism Ireland’s regional brand experiences on Waiheke Island.

With Covid-19 preventing any international travel in 2020, some of our usual travel trade initiatives including the VIP familiarisation trip to Ireland could not take place. In New Zealand, with Covid not present in the community, our Tourism Ireland team wanted to maintain the special relationship that our office and the destination of Ireland has with our key travel industry partners. We thus came up with the following idea.

Our Role:

  • With the absence of Covid in the community, the Tourism Ireland NZ team was able to organise a unique initiative for our key industry partners. An ‘off shore’ fam was created to the island of Waiheke (in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour) that became the island of Ireland for the day. 
  • Participants included partner airlines, wholesalers, retail chains, coach operators and trade media.
  • The itinerary created experiences that could be compared with a visit to Ireland, representing each of the Regional Experience Brands. 


  • Shucking oysters collected from the local bay. Just like in Ireland.
  • Assisted by a chef who was able to talk with authority about the quality and freshness of Irish cuisine including ‘the best oysters in the world’.
  • Being welcomed onto Piritahi marae, representing the importance of heritage and culture, and connection to the people and place. Such an important part of the visitor experience to Ireland.
  • Tasting local produce and experiencing the hospitality at a local vineyard owned by the Dunleavy Family from County Cavan. 
  • Learning how to pour the perfect pint at Molly Malone’s Irish pub. Aided by the previous Quality Controller for Guinness NZ.

The fam trip to the island of Waiheke (island of Ireland for the day) was an outstanding success. The trade press coverage and partner feedback reflected a day that recreated and reminded them of the enticing experiences, welcome and special charm that Ireland has to offer. It also helped to create a connection and bond with Tourism Ireland and our key travel industry partners that will play an important part in Ireland’s tourism recovery from New Zealand.