Chicago to Shannon Air Link Opens

07 Jun 2013

Tourism Ireland warmly welcomes the arrival today of the inaugural United flight from Chicago to Shannon, which will provide a welcome boost for both business and leisure tourism from the all-important American market to Shannon and the West of Ireland this summer.

Working closely with airlines is a key priority for Tourism Ireland and the organisation has put in place a busy programme of marketing activity – in conjunction with United – to help drive demand for this new route in the Chicago area and ensure the success of the service. Ads are running in Red Eye, a daily Chicago newspaper, reaching some 180,000 readers with messages about the new ease of access to Shannon and the many great things to see and do in the West of Ireland.

Earlier this week, senior executives from Tourism Ireland were in Chicago, where they undertook a series of interviews with popular television and radio stations – highlighting Shannon as a wonderful gateway to the west of Ireland and issuing an extra-special invitation for Mid-Westerners who are Irish born, Irish bred or Irish in spirit to come and visit in 2013 and join our great Gathering celebrations. And, in advance of the inaugural flight, a Tourism Ireland event in Chicago was attended by 50 influential travel agents, tour operators and journalists.

This summer will see a significant increase – almost 27% – in the number of airline seats between the US and Ireland for the peak season, making it easier than ever before for Americans to get to the island of Ireland. Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland’s director of markets, said: “We are delighted that United has chosen to operate this new service from Chicago to Shannon. As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with United, Shannon Airport and other tourism interests to drive demand for this new service, and all other services to the island of Ireland, and to help maintain our vital network of routes and services.

Simon Gregory continued: “The United States is a tremendously important tourism market. The most recent figures from the CSO showed a very positive start to 2013, with an increase in visitor numbers from North America of +16% for the period February to April. We believe that we are on course to achieve our best year ever from this market; in 2013, we hope to welcome over one million American visitors, spending about US$1 billion.”

In the cockpit of the United Boeing 757, in advance of the inaugural flight to Shannon, were (l-r) United captain Todd Kersting; Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America; and United first officer Clark Shelton.


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 2012, an estimated 7.27 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative, consisting 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, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.


Who's Who

Search for Tourism Ireland Contacts