A delegation of tourism operators from the West of Ireland has been on a week-long sales mission with Tourism Ireland in Chicago, promoting the new United flight from Chicago to Shannon (which commences in June 2013) and all the great things to see and do in this part of Ireland, including the many events taking place here as part of The Gathering Ireland.
During the sales mission, the Irish tourism operators met some of the key travel agents and tour operators based in and around Chicago, who sell group tours and individual vacations to Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Together with our tourism partners from the West of Ireland, we are working closely with United to maximise the promotion of this new route. 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.
“The United States is a tremendously important tourism market, second only to Britain in terms of delivering visitor numbers and Tourism Ireland has a strong and comprehensive promotional programme under way right now, highlighting The Gathering Ireland 2013. We are extending an invitation to the millions of people across the United States who have ancestral links with Ireland to ‘come home’ this year. We are also calling on expatriates and those with an affinity for Ireland to get involved and organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland in 2013.”
Patricia Cunningham, United; Marie McKown, Tourism Ireland; Ann Curran, Hidden Ireland Tours; Suzanne Meade, Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival; Liz Godfrey, Adare Manor; Fiona Monaghan, Failte Ireland West; Marie Slattery, Shannon Heritage; Carol Hinch, Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara; Brendan Keogh, SWING (South West Ireland Golf); and Mary Gleeson, Old Ground Hotel, Ennis.
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 www.ireland.com, 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.