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20 Aug 2017

Targeting the Diaspora in Milwaukee

Minister Ciarán Cannon lends a hand to boost tourism from the United States

The 37th annual Milwaukee Irish Fest – the largest celebration of Irish culture and heritage in the United States – took place in Wisconsin over the weekend. With a huge audience of about 150,000 visitors, the four-day festival was an ideal opportunity for Tourism Ireland to showcase the island of Ireland as a superb holiday destination.

Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, was at the festival, where he met with the Tourism Ireland team. A large delegation of tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland also attended this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest – all highlighting the many things to see and do here for American holidaymakers.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland’s presence at this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest provided another excellent platform to showcase the island of Ireland and the diversity of our heritage and culture – and was a good opportunity to invite some of the many people of Irish descent living and working in the US, as well as those with Irish connections or an affinity for Ireland, to come and visit.

“Visitor numbers from North America for the first half of 2017 are really strong, up +21.6% on the same period last year. Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America for 2017, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. A number of factors are working in our favour, including more airline seats than ever before, from more gateways across the US and Canada.”

  Minister Ciarán Cannon with Marie McKown, Alison Metcalfe and Marie Duffy, all Tourism Ireland, at the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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.