Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, joined Tourism Ireland in Texas this week, for the second of its ‘Jump into Ireland’ 2014 sales blitzes in the United States.
Together with a delegation of 15 Irish tourism companies and five American tour operator partners, Tourism Ireland has been targeting hundreds of travel agents and influential journalists this week, in the key cities of Fort Worth, Houston and Austin. With a population of about 28 million, the state of Texas is becoming an increasingly important market for tourism to the island of Ireland.
The sales blitz involves a busy schedule of B2B events, including interactive presentations and networking sessions highlighting Ireland – providing an excellent opportunity for the Irish tourism partners to showcase and sell their product to the key decision-makers they are meeting in the various cities. Tourism Ireland has also been introducing our newest tourism experience, the Wild Atlantic Way, to the influential travel agents and journalists attending the various sessions in Fort Worth and Houston. Similar ‘Jump into Ireland’ events will take place in Chicago and Boston, in September; and in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, in November.
Today (Friday, 25 April), Minister Ring, Tourism Ireland and the Irish delegation are travelling to Austin, for the opening of the Austin Food & Wine Festival – a high-end food and wine lifestyle show, set to attract about 5,000 visitors over the weekend. Tourism Ireland’s presence at the event includes a networking event with Austin-based travel agents and media; as well as a stand in the Grand Tasting Pavilion, with celebrity chef Kevin Dundon in attendance – showcasing the very best of the culinary experience on offer for American visitors to Ireland.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “The United States is one of the most important markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2013 was a record year for American visitors to Ireland – even surpassing our previous best year of 2007.
“Our ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitz, as well as events like the Austin Food & Wine Festival, provide an excellent platform to spread the word about the many great experiences that US holidaymakers can enjoy around the island of Ireland. They also provide a really good opportunity to raise awareness about the exciting programme of events taking place this year – including Limerick City of Culture, next month’s Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia and, of course, the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener next August.”
Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotional activity in place right throughout 2014, to grow tourist numbers from the US. Millions of Americans are seeing ads and holiday features for the island of Ireland this spring. Golf and business tourism promotions, e-marketing and social media activities, consumer shows like the Austin Food & Wine Festival, are keeping the island of Ireland ‘front of mind’ for American travellers this year. In addition, positive publicity worth close to €100 million will be generated by Tourism Ireland in the United States this year.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD; Alison Metcalfe (centre), Fiona Dunne (third left) and Ruth Moran (right), all Tourism Ireland; and the island of Ireland and American tourism partners who are taking part in Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’ event, in Fort Worth, Texas.
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.