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22 Aug 2017

Taoiseach lends a hand to promote Ireland in Toronto

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is visiting Canada this week and yesterday (Monday, 21 August) he took the time to support Tourism Ireland’s promotional efforts, when he met some of the leading Canadian tour operators and airlines who programme and sell holidays to Ireland.

Canada is one of Ireland’s top ten tourism markets and 2016 was the best year ever for Irish tourism from Canada, when we welcomed 203,000 Canadian visitors, up +11% on 2015. In fact, visitor numbers from Canada have grown by almost 28% since 2014, correlating directly with a significant increase in direct flights from Canada to Ireland.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “In 2016, we welcomed a record 203,000 Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland is confident of continued strong growth for 2017 and in the years to come. A number of factors are working in our favour, including more airline seats than ever before between Canada and Ireland – with about 8,000 seats on 33 flights now available each week during the summer months, an increase of +26% over summer 2016.

“We are rolling out an extensive programme of activity in Canada throughout 2017 – which includes co-operative promotions with key airline and tour operator partners, email marketing and social media promotions, as well as online advertising on popular websites. And, our publicity programme in Canada this year will generate positive coverage for the island of Ireland worth more than €7.5 million.”

Canadian visitors tend to stay longer and explore more extensively around the island than the average visitor, sampling our unique holiday experiences.
  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Toronto with (from left) Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; Mary Heron, Aer Lingus; Denise Heffron, Air Transat; Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland; and Luigi Iannello, Air Canada Vacations.

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 281,000 people across the island.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.3 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.