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18 Aug 2019

Targeting the Diaspora in Milwaukee

Minister Ciarán Cannon lends a hand to boost tourism from the US

The 39th annual Milwaukee Irish Fest – the largest celebration of Irish culture and heritage in the United States – has been taking place on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The four-day festival – which has a huge audience of more than 130,000 visitors – was an ideal opportunity for Tourism Ireland to showcase the island of Ireland as a superb holiday destination.
This year’s festival was also an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on Galway 2020 – as part of Tourism Ireland’s programme of promotions to highlight Ireland to its ‘culturally curious’ audience in the United States.  And, TradFest artists performed at the festival – encouraging those who saw them perform to come and experience Dublin’s TradFest for themselves. Tourism Ireland’s message is that events like Galway 2020 and TradFest will offer American holidaymakers a superb cultural and artistic experience.
Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, attended the festival, where he met with the Tourism Ireland team and the delegation of tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland who attended this year’s festival.
“We’re delighted to announce Galway 2020 in Milwaukee and to highlight the city as European Capital of Culture next year,” said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America. “Tourism Ireland was also really pleased to welcome TradFest to this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest – which is an unmissable event in Ireland’s music calendar.  We hope that seeing the TradFest artists perform in Milwaukee will encourage visitors to come and experience Dublin’s TradFest for themselves. Tourism Ireland’s message for our ‘culturally curious’ audience is that the island of Ireland offers world-class festivals and cultural experiences.
“The Milwaukee Irish Fest provides a really good platform for Tourism Ireland to showcase the island of Ireland and the diversity of our heritage and culture to prospective American visitors. It was a wonderful 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.”
Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. The most recent CSO figures, for January-June, indicate growth of +9.1% in arrivals from North America. Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive and targeted programme of promotions throughout 2019, to continue to grow visitor numbers from North America.
Brian O’Brien, Irish Consul General to Chicago and the Midwest USA; Ruth Moran, Tourism Ireland; Claudine Murray, TradFest; Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland; Minister Ciarán Cannon; and Patricia Philbin, Galway 2020, at the 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 around 325,000 people across the island.
  • In 2018, we welcomed around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+6% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €6.1 billion (+10%).
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.