A ‘Gathering’ roadshow is under way in Britain this week, led by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring. This follows very successful visits by Minister Ring to Manchester and Glasgow earlier this year. Phase two of the roadshow sees Minister Ring meet with Irish communities and business networks in Birmingham and Leeds this week, to tell them all about ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
At networking events in both cities, hosted by Tourism Ireland, Minister Ring is urging the Irish in Britain to come home next year or to encourage their extensive networks of family, friends and business colleagues to organise their own ‘Gatherings’ here in Ireland during 2013. Minister Ring is also briefing representatives of the GB media and giving a number of broadcast and print media interviews.
Minister Ring said: “I am asking people with Irish connections in Leeds, Birmingham and across the UK to get involved in ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and play a part in Ireland’s renewal and recovery. But you don’t have to be Irish to come – everyone is welcome.
“Gatherings are already being planned by the Irish Community overseas, including family reunions, clan gatherings and corporate events. I would ask people to take a look at thegatheringireland.com website and see how they can get involved. There may be an event they would like to travel over for or there could be something they could organise themselves.”
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Millions of people in GB have family links with Ireland and this week Minister Ring is helping us to reach out to those people, to encourage them to come home in 2013 for what promises to be a truly special year. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotional activity across Britain, North America, Australia and New Zealand and other markets this autumn, to highlight ‘The Gathering’ and appeal to the tens of millions across the world who claim Irish ancestry, as well as to all the others who feel linked to Ireland by friendship, business, education, interest or affinity.”
Minister Michael Ring; Mike Lambden and John Gilbert, both National Express (coach network); Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland; and Martin Mullaney, former councillor with Birmingham City Council, at a networking event in Birmingham for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087-685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country.
• Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world this autumn, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.