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, CEO of Tourism Ireland, 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.”