Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, joined Tourism Ireland in the United States last week, to promote Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination in the important Mid-West region.
He visited Chicago and Milwaukee, undertaking a packed programme of media interviews – which included appearances on television, on The Morning Blend programme on TODAY’S TMJ4 and on WITI-TV FOX 6 in Milwaukee, as well as interviews with publications like the Daily Herald (suburban Chicago’s largest daily newspaper), The Times newspaper of Indiana and Illinois and Irish America News. Minister Ring met with influential tour operators, travel agents and airlines, at a networking event organised by Tourism Ireland, in Chicago. He encouraged them to promote Ireland, The Gathering and highlighted the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s first long-distance driving route, stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, which will offer our visitors from overseas an opportunity to discover the west coast.
Minister Ring also attended the opening ceremony of the 2013 Milwaukee Irish Fest, the largest celebration of Irish culture and heritage in the United States. With a huge audience of about 150,000 attendees, the three-day festival was a fantastic opportunity to highlight Ireland and to invite some of the many people of Irish descent living and working in that part of the US, as well as those with Irish connections or an affinity for Ireland, to come and visit Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said: “Minister Ring’s visit was a great boost to our efforts to promote Ireland in the Mid-West region of the US. Tourism Ireland has been working hard to build awareness of the island of Ireland as a premier vacation destination for American travellers. This year, our promotions have included an extra-special invitation to the millions of people across the US who have ancestral links with Ireland, to come home in this special year of The Gathering. The United States is an extremely important tourism market for the island of Ireland and we believe that we are on course to achieve our best year ever from that market. The most recent figures from the CSO showed a very positive start to 2013, with the strongest first half performance ever from North America. This year, we hope to welcome over one million American visitors, spending about US$1 billion.”
Minister Michael Ring (centre) with Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland; Mary Francis Fagan, American Airlines; Mary Lu Laffey, Daily Herald, Chicago; Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland, Chicago; and Ruth Moran, Tourism Ireland, at a networking event in Chicago.
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.