NEW YORK -- Agents selling the Emerald Isle can get some green back
thanks to Join Ireland, a members-only, discount-card program for
U.S. vacationers that pays 15% commission on each card sold.
The Join Ireland card, which costs $59 per year, offers clients
discounts of 10% to 60% on more than 1,000 travel-related products
in Ireland such as restaurants, shopping, visitor attractions,
lodging, golf, cruises, car hire and international phone calls.
Participating Irish retailers display a Join Ireland logo.
Dublin-based affinity club Join Ireland, which also has an
office in Newport Beach, Calif., estimates that over a nine-night
vacation, travelers using the card can save more than $1,000.
"The value is retrieved after you've booked one hotel night or
eaten one night out," noted Deirdre O'Neill, vice president of
sales at Join Ireland. "It's become sort of a necessary item for
The company's Web site serves as an on line guide to eating,
shopping and activities in Ireland -- and features a list of Irish
retailers that offer card holders discounts on Web purchases even
after they've returned to the U.S.
Travel agents can enroll as Join Ireland card resellers at www.joinireland.com or by e-mailing [email protected]; some 200 U.S. agents have
enrolled already, said O'Neill.
Jim McGuigan, executive vice president, North America of Tourism
Ireland -- which is helping promote Join Ireland -- welcomed the
"The U.S. consumer of vacation travel products will seek the
best value for money that the market will provide, especially these
days," he said, in a statement. "This new service provides [that]
opportunity for travelers to Ireland."
Although many European cities offer similar visitor cards, Join
Ireland -- available only to foreign tourists -- is the first such
nationwide card program, said O'Neill.
"It's a novel idea, but Ireland is a smaller country than most,"
she said, making implementation easier.