Gulliver Ireland Reports Strong Growth in Bookings
FEXCO, the Kerry, Ireland-based global payments company, announced today (Friday, 16th July 2004) that it has acquired the remaining 26 per cent shareholding of Gulliver InfoRes Services Limited (trading as Gulliver Ireland) from All Ireland Tourism Holdings, a company owned by Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. FEXCO is now the 100 per cent owner of Gulliver Ireland, Ireland’s leading cost effective provider of tourism information and reservations.
Gulliver Ireland is the latest in a series of acquisitions made by FEXCO. In May 2004 it acquired a majority shareholding in Online Teetimes Limited, the Wicklow-based company that provides an online platform for the sale of Irish green fees, and in January FEXCO announced that it had taken a majority shareholding in The Gift Voucher Shop Ltd., the market leader in the Irish gift voucher market.
According to the company, this latest acquisition demonstrates FEXCO’s commitment to developing its focus on e-commerce and building the leadership position of its Travel & Leisure product market group. It follows a significant investment programme in Gulliver Ireland over the last number of years that has transformed the original Gulliver database as Ireland’s destination management system and one of the leading systems of its kind in Europe.
Gulliver is the world’s most widely used national booking system, with over 9,000 linked properties, or over 60 per cent of approved accommodation on the island of Ireland. Gulliver Ireland’s booking engine now powers more than 60 websites including the Fáilte Ireland website, www.ireland.ie, the Dublin Tourism website, www.visitdublin.com, and the Irish Times website, www.ireland.com.
Gulliver Ireland also reported strong growth in bookings to June 2004. It reported that 410,000 bednights were sold in January to June 2004, an increase of 10% on the same period last year. Internet bookings have grown dramatically, with bookings through GoIreland.com up 88% compared with the same period in 2003. Online bookings now account for 50% of total bookings, compared with 35% last year and 25% in 2002.
Speaking at the announcement, Dr. Stewart Stephens, Managing Director, Gulliver Ireland, said, “This investment underlines FEXCO’s commitment to the growth and development of Gulliver. Since 1997 a very significant investment programme has transformed the Gulliver system. As a consequence, Ireland, through Gulliver, has a state-of-the-art platform for the electronic distribution of the national tourism product.
“In recent years Gulliver has shown that it is possible to generate strong growth in bookings in different industry sectors and locations. However, there is no room for complacency. Instead, all facets of Irish tourism should work together to ensure that we have a tourism product that we can be proud of and that we can confidently sell at home and abroad. Secondly, we should aim to be the best in the world at distributing this product online. We look forward to working with Fáilte Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Regional Tourism Authorities and the industry bodies to contribute to the renewed success of Ireland as a tourist destination and to the commercial success of our members,” added Dr Stewart Stephens.
“The Gulliver system supports the information dissemination activity of Tourist Information Offices, among other channels, and has also enabled a reservations facility by phone, fax, email and online booking. This is an important resource for the tourism industry throughout Ireland, covering as it does all accommodation from hotels and guesthouses to bed & breakfast, hostels and self-catering. With the increasing use of the Internet at consumer level, both as an information and booking tool, the facility provided by Gulliver has been of great benefit in supporting the websites of the Regional Tourism Authorities and Fáilte Ireland, which includes www.ireland.ie,” said an AITH spokesperson.