Minister of State for Small Business John Perry TD, is in Spain this week, as part of a "Promote Ireland" programme around St Patrick's Day – helping to promote tourism to Ireland in 2014.
Minister Perry met with about 50 members of the Spanish travel trade at a St Patrick’s reception hosted by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Embassy in Madrid – to highlight Ireland as an important English language-learning destination for Spanish students among the influential language tour operators and decision-makers in attendance. The English language-teaching (ELT) sector is extremely important for Ireland – worth an estimated €240 to the economy each year.
Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s 2014 programme is spanning 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. More than 100 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world are going green this weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. In Spain, these sites will include the Tower of Hércules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galicia; the famous Cibeles Fountain in Madrid, the ‘spiritual home’ of Real Madrid, where fans celebrate their triumphs by offering their trophies to the Cibeles goddess; the Palacio de Communiaciones, also in Madrid; and the town hall in Salamanca.
Barbara Wood, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Spain, said: “We are delighted that Minister Perry is with us in Spain for the important St Patrick’s period, to help us deliver the message about the many great reasons to visit Ireland. 2013 was a record year for Spanish visitors to Ireland and we are undertaking another busy programme of promotional activity throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth.
“Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative is even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Great Wall of China, the Treasury in the ancient city of Petra and Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland® Paris. Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that the island of Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities.”
Tourism Ireland’s busy programme of online and social media activity will reach an estimated 3.5 million people around Spain this month, capitalising on the heightened awareness of the island of Ireland around St Patrick’s Day. Other St Patrick’s promotions in Spain include support for, and sponsorship of, St Patrick’s festivals in cities like Marbella, Barcelona and Toledo; an event for leading travel writers on St Patrick’s Day itself; and Tourism Ireland will sponsor the biennial Spanish-Irish Business Network St Patrick’s gala ball.
Minister John Perry; Barbara Wood, Tourism Ireland; HE Justin Harman, Irish Ambassador to Spain; Juan Carlos Arcones and Carlos Sánchez, both Aer Lingus Spain, at a St Patrick’s reception in Madrid.
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 2013, we welcomed an estimated 8 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 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.