My first TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference was in Ireland, in the capital city of Dublin. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve been to all the TBEX European conferences since, as well as this year’s TBEX International in Jerusalem.
In October this year, TBEX is back in Ireland, in the beautiful town of Killarney. I met Gillian Binchy of Failte Ireland (the Irish Tourism Development Agency) when I was in Jerusalem, and I took the opportunity to chat to her about what bloggers could expect from TBEX Killarney.
Showcasing Ireland at TBEX Killarney
I started by asking Gillian how she hoped to present Killarney to bloggers attending TBEX. She explained that Killarney would be the base for the conference, but it would be a chance to showcase the Republic of Ireland as a whole. Failte Ireland wanted to show everything that Ireland had to offer to visitors. This would include the Wild Atlantic Way, with its rugged landscape and outdoor activities, food and traditional music. The eastern counties presented a different Ireland, with 5,000 years of history and a gentler pace of life. Then there was Dublin, a young and vibrant city with an outdoor culture and a lively social scene.
Gillian told me that she was very excited about TBEX. It was all about story telling: any type of story could help to bring Ireland to life for potential visitors. She explained that Failte Ireland had gradually increased the number of bloggers it worked with over the last few years. TBEX would be an opportunity to build up new relationships with bloggers, to find digital ambassadors for the future.
Ireland: Expect the Unexpected
Gillian said that a lot of effort was being put into the experience around TBEX. There were many activities available around Killarney, from the town itself to the Wild Atlantic Way and the nearby national park. Trips would be arranged for bloggers from both Killarney and Dublin.
I asked her what message she would like to give people attending TBEX. She said:
You are guaranteed to be surprised when you experience Ireland. Expect the unexpected and for many of your preconceptions to be exceeded when you are somewhere on the 2,500 km of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way; or time travelling over the 5,000 years of history in the lush green landscape of Ireland’s Ancient East; or in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, where the natives are very friendly. And the built heritage of previous visitors – the Vikings, the Normans and the British – are highly visible and very photogenic.
She added: “Come to discover Ireland and find yourself”.
I was impressed by the energy and thought that was being put into this event. Gillian told me she was planning to arrange workshops for tourist organisations in Ireland to explain what TBEX was about. She wanted to let them know how important bloggers were, and to explain the relevance of social media. I can’t wait until October!
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