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Tourist Board, agents end bookings dispute

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

A legal dispute between the Irish Tourist Board and tour operators over the operation of an Irish tourism information and reservations system has been settled.

The dispute centered on an arrangement that allowed a County Kerry company, Fexco, to both give out tourist information and make bookings, thereby creating what operators saw as a conflict of interest.

Some time ago, the Irish Tourist Board sold a controlling stake in the reservations system, called Gulliver, to Fexco.

Fexco owns a tour-operating subsidiary called Go Ireland.

"Basically, the agreement ensures impartiality in the handling of information calls and access to the Irish Tourist Board’s website," a tourism industry source, who preferred not to be named, told the Echo.

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Last January, Tour Contractors (Ireland) Ltd., which is the Irish operating company of Brendan Tours, Inc., supported by the Irish Tour Operators Forum in America and the Incoming Tour Operators Association in Ireland, sought a judicial review of the contracts entered into by Bórd Fáilte with Fexco for the operation of the Gulliver tourism information and reservation system.

But in Dublin last Tuesday morning, the High Court was told that the legal action, which had been initiated by Tours Contractors (Ireland) Ltd., had been withdrawn, following discussion between the parties and Fexco, the majority owners of the Gulliver system.

According to a statement agreed by the parties to the dispute, Tour Contractors (Ireland) Ltd and the board have now agreed to settle the dispute over the operation of the Gulliver system.

The legal settlement involves:

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