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03 Mar 2017

Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan lends a hand to boost American tourist numbers

Tourism Ireland sets its sights on another record year for tourism from North America – +9% increase in revenue from 1.7 million visitors in 2017

Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan joined Tourism Ireland in the United States this week – for its ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitzes in Atlanta (Georgia) and Boca Raton (Florida). The minister’s busy schedule included meetings with influential travel trade, airline representatives and travel journalists, as well as members of the Irish business community. 

In total, 17 tourism companies from Ireland and the United States took part in this weeks ‘Jump into Ireland’. The sales blitz follows last week’s announcement by Norwegian of new flights to the island of Ireland from New York (Stewart International Airport) and Providence (Rhode Island), which means that the total number of transatlantic airline seats this summer will be 60,000, from 20 North American gateways to the island of Ireland – that’s 10,000 additional seats (+20%) compared to summer 2016.  

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “In 2016, we welcomed a record 1.6 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland. Looking to the year ahead, we are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, a strong dollar, as well as the strength and competitiveness of the vacation experience right around the island of Ireland – will deliver further growth.”

“We have a very clear focus for the year ahead and that is to deliver a +6% increase in visitor numbers and +9% increase in revenue from North America. We will achieve this by working in close collaboration with our tourism partners, in both the US and Ireland, rolling out an extensive programme of high impact campaigns and promotions which will target those consumers with greatest potential to travel to Ireland. Our ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitz this week was an excellent platform to spread the word about the many great things to see and do right around the island of Ireland.”

  Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan (right) promoting Ireland on the popular ‘Coffee with America’ TV show in Atlanta, Georgia, in advance of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’ event. He is pictured with the show’s host, Sasha Rionda (left), and Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America.

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 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.