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15 Mar 2015

Minister Tom Hayes lends a hand to boost tourism from Australia

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes TD, was in Australia this week, as part of a ‘Promote Ireland’ programme around St Patrick's Day – helping to promote tourism to Ireland in 2015.

During his visit, Minister Hayes attended the Taste of Sydney festival, where he met Dublin-born chef and restaurateur Colin Fassnidge, who has become a celebrity chef in his adopted Australia. Minister Hayes took part in various tourism events, including an Irish-themed AFL (Australian Football League) fixture between Greater Western Sydney and Essendon; he also attended a Tourism Ireland promotion in Adelaide.  

Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s 2015 programme will span 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 150 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world are going green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. In Australia, the sites joining Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening this year include the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Town Hall, Hyde Park Barracks and State Library of New South Wales (all in Sydney), the Old Parliament House in Canberra and the Council House in Perth.

Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are delighted that Minister Hayes was with us in Australia for the important St Patrick’s period, to help us deliver the message about the many great reasons to visit Ireland this year. Australia and New Zealand are important markets for tourism to the island of Ireland, given that these visitors tend to stay longer than other holidaymakers, typically up to twelve nights, they travel right around the island and many of them travel in the off-season. In 2014, we welcomed around 212,000 visitors from Australia and New Zealand to the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland has a busy programme of promotions under way in 2015, to keep the momentum going and build on that success.”

Tourism Ireland’s programme of activity in Australia this year includes co-operative activity with key partners like Emirates and Etihad Airways – to highlight, and drive demand for, flights from Australia, via the Middle East, to Dublin. An online campaign is also under way with popular Australian travel site Skiddoo. Tourism Ireland is very active on social media in Australia, with almost 40,000 Facebook fans and almost 8,000 followers on Twitter. The organisation also operates a busy, year-round programme of PR and publicity, which includes press trips to Ireland for key travel and lifestyle journalists, as well as the distribution of regular e-newsletters and press releases. Tourism Ireland’s publicity programme in 2015 will generate positive media coverage for Ireland worth more than €6.5 million.

  Jane Connolly, Consul-General of Ireland; Minister Tom Hayes; Dublin-born chef Colin Fassnidge; and Aoife Finnegan, Tourism Ireland, at the Taste of Sydney festival.

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 2014, we 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. In 2014, attracted about 14.25 million visitors.