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17 Aug 2018

Targeting the Diaspora in Milwaukee

Minister Pat Breen lends a hand to boost tourism from the United States

The 38th annual Milwaukee Irish Fest – the largest celebration of Irish culture and heritage in the United States – has been taking place in Wisconsin. With a huge audience of around 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.

Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, attended the festival, where he met with the Tourism Ireland team and the delegation of tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland attending this year’s festival.

“Tourism Ireland’s presence at this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest provides another excellent platform to showcase the island of Ireland and the diversity of our heritage and culture, including events like TradFest – and is 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,” said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America.

“Visitor numbers from North America are really strong for the first half of this year, up +10.7% on the same period last year. In 2018, we are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, as well as the strength and competitiveness of the vacation experience right around the island of Ireland – will deliver further growth.”
  Brian O’Brien, Consul General of Ireland to Chicago and the Midwest USA; Ruth Moran, Tourism Ireland; Minister Pat Breen; Billy Condon and Paul McDonagh, both 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 300,000 people across the island.
  • In 2017, we welcomed approximately 10.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.6 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.2 million visitors in 2017.