A ‘Gathering’ roadshow gets under way in Britain this week, led by Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring, TD. Phase one of the roadshow will see Minister Ring meet with Irish communities and Irish business networks in Manchester and Glasgow, to tell them all about ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
At a number of networking events, hosted by Tourism Ireland, Minister Ring will urge the Irish in Britain to become ambassadors for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and to encourage their own extensive networks of family, friends and business colleagues to organise their own ‘Gatherings’ here in Ireland during 2013. Minister Ring will also brief representatives of the GB media and give a series of broadcast and print media interviews.
Phase two of the ‘Gathering’ roadshow in Britain will continue later this summer in London, Birmingham and Leeds. Tourism Ireland is also planning promotional events for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ in the United States, Australia and other markets into the autumn, working with the ‘Gathering’ project team.
Minister Ring commented: “The Irish in Britain have a unique relationship with both Ireland and Britain. They are our oldest Diaspora and have made an immeasurable contribution to both countries. I believe that 2013 will give us a chance to celebrate their contribution as well as to celebrate all that is best about Ireland. Now we are asking them to join us, not just by coming home next year, but also by inviting everyone they know in Britain to come and be part of the Gathering.”
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 for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and what promises to be a truly special year. Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive programme of promotional activity across Britain, North America, Australia and New Zealand and other markets in the second half of this year, 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.”
‘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. It is an invitation to Irish people and those with any connection or interest in the country to visit Ireland next year and join in a series of diverse events that will take place throughout 2013.
In the second half of this year, Tourism Ireland will roll out a major campaign to promote ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ to the tens of millions of people across the world who claim ancestral links with Ireland as well as to the other millions who feel linked by friendship, business, education, interest or simply an affection for what Ireland has given to the world.
Right now, Tourism Ireland is busy identifying and engaging with key ‘enablers’ and influencers across Great Britain and other markets – including Irish business networks, clans, cultural and sporting associations, Irish Centres and community groups – encouraging them to promote ‘The Gathering’ to their networks and to encourage members to organise their own ‘Gathering’ in Ireland during 2013. Tourism Ireland is also targeting tour operators, universities and schools, as well as inviting everyone with an interest in Ireland to ‘jump in’.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland; Minister Michael Ring; and Marcella Wilkinson, Manchester Mayo Association at a networking event in Manchester 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.