By Harry Keaney
Concern from tour operators over the impartiality of an Irish computerized tourist reservation and information system has led to the information part of the service being postponed to the U.S. until next March.
The reservation and information system is known as Gulliver. Last year, the Irish Tourist Board sold a majority interest in the system to a County Kerry-based financial and teleservices company called Fexco. This angered some tour operators, who feared a conflict of interest because Fexco now controlled both the information service and reservation service.
The Irish Tourist Board and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board still hold a minority interest in the system.
Joe Byrne, the Irish Tourist Board’s executive vice president for North America, said the reason for the postponement of the information service to the U.S. was because the board had received requests from tour operators to "consider and take action on a number of areas." The tour operators, Byrne said, had expressed concern about the impartiality of the information service.
"We have given the tour operators an assurance that it will be impartial, and it will be impartial," Byrne said. He added that between now and next March, tourist board officials would be discussing the issue with both Fexco people and tour operators. "We had such a meeting in Dublin 10 days ago," Byrne said.
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Gulliver processes tourism enquiries and reservations from Britain and Ireland from Fexco’s base in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. The U.S. market was to come online this month.