Over 180 residents of the small town of Richmond, in Michigan, flew to Ireland last week for their very own ‘Gathering’ – following a CIE Tours International itinerary which took in Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Clare and Galway. Richmond businessman Don Kurylowicz decided to organise the visit in 2013, because this is the year of The Gathering.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that the people of Richmond, Michigan, decided to visit Ireland in this special year of The Gathering. For many of the group, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by the spectacular scenery, our rich heritage, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. North America is an extremely important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2013 is shaping up to be a record year – with the latest CSO figures, to the end of September, showing North American visitor numbers up +14.6% on the same nine-month period last year.
“The Gathering Ireland has very much caught the imagination of American travellers – particularly those with Irish heritage. Since last year, The Gathering has been a major focus of all Tourism Ireland’s promotions, to make Ireland a ‘must visit’ choice for a vacation in 2013, for both the Diaspora and non-Diaspora around the US.”
Some of the 180-strong American group – all residents of Richmond, Michigan, who are visiting Ireland for their very own Gathering – at Bunratty Folk Park, with driver-guides Willie Aherne and Gerry McCarthy, CIE Tours International (right).
Brian Swift, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01-476 3425
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, 7.4 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 undertaken an extensive programme of promotions to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013 around the world, working closely with the Gathering project team.