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08 Jan 2014

Targeting further growth in roots tourism

Tourism Ireland targets further growth in roots tourism following the Gathering

The Gathering Ireland saw huge engagement with the diaspora worldwide throughout 2013 and an increased focus on the promotion of roots tourism by Tourism Ireland. The organisation has announced that encouraging the diaspora home, to trace their Irish heritage, will remain a key focus in 2014 and beyond.

With hundreds of clan gatherings and family meetings taking place right around Ireland as part of the Gathering, Tourism Ireland dubbed 2013 ‘Ireland’s Family History Year’. To celebrate the success of the year, Tourism Ireland teamed up with Ireland’s largest family records database,, for a special promotion on Facebook – which included the chance to win an ancestral holiday in Ireland over the New Year’s period.  

The lucky winner was Irish-American Mary Powell – from Churchville in New York – who has roots in Galway (the King family), Cork (McCartys) and Wexford (Duggans). As part of her prize, arranged for Mary and her husband to visit the homestead of her ancestors in The Burrow, near Rosslare, and to meet with her long-lost Wexford cousins. She was overwhelmed by the experience and plans to return to Ireland very soon, this time with her extended family, so that they too can find out more about their Irish heritage.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “The year of the Gathering was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our diaspora around the globe and encourage those with Irish roots to come home and visit. Tourism Ireland believes that 2014 offers continued growth opportunities, given the new flights that are planned from key markets like the United States and Canada, as well as expanded services on existing air routes from elsewhere. Last year, we established a new ‘Ireland Family History’ page on Facebook, to connect with those with Irish heritage. The fact that the page has gained almost 200,000 fans worldwide demonstrates the high level of interest in genealogy and this will continue remain a central focus in our overseas marketing of Ireland in 2014 and beyond.”


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.
  • By the end of 2014, we will have welcomed an estimated 8.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.26 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.