Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, was in Italy last week where he met a number of key Italian travel decision-makers. Minister Ring was in Italy as part of a "Promote Ireland" programme around St Patrick's Day – helping to promote tourism to Ireland and inviting members of the Diaspora living in Italy to come home during this special year of The Gathering Ireland. During his time in Italy, Minister Ring met with influential tour operators, carriers and media, encouraging them to promote Ireland as a superb holiday and business tourism destination.
Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s 2013 programme spanned Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. About 70 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world went green at the weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. In Italy, they included the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Palazzo della Loggia in Brescia and the Torre del Filarete in Milan. Elsewhere around the globe, the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, Selfridges in London, Niagara Falls, Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco were all illuminated in green as the sun set on 17 March. Tourism Ireland took every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile around St Patrick’s weekend, with the saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media, proving an invaluable boost for Ireland’s overall tourism marketing drive this year.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Minister Ring travelled to Italy to help us deliver the message about the many great reasons to visit Ireland in 2013 and, in particular, The Gathering Ireland.
“Our ‘greening’ initiative got even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Anfield stadium in Liverpool, the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and even the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the Republic of Ireland takes on Sweden later this week in the World Cup qualifying campaign. Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities.”
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland; Minister Ring; Silvestro Serra, Touring Club Italia; Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland; and HE Patrick Hennessy, Irish Ambassador to Italy, viewing the Ireland promotion in the window of the headquarters of Touring Club Italia in Milan.
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.