Minister Donohoe joins Tourism Ireland in the U.S. for series of tourism promotion events

13th September, 2015

Extensive programme aims to continue recent success of attracting more American visitors to Ireland


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, will today (Sunday) travel to the United States with Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, to attend a number of tourism promotion events. During his visit, Minister Donohoe will be in Nashville and New York to launch our latest tourism initiative, Ireland’s Ancient East, to top travel agents, tour operators and travel media, as well as members of the Irish Diaspora, in both cities (see outline of itinerary below).


In Nashville, Minister Donohoe will also announce Tourism Ireland’s sponsorship of the second annual Music City Irish Festival, which will take place in Nashville in March 2016. The sponsorship is designed to encourage thousands of festival-goers to come visit Ireland next year.


A series of media interviews, highlighting the many great reasons why Americans should choose Ireland for their vacation in 2016 will also be undertaken, with Minister Donohoe highlighting exciting developments like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and the fact that improved air access means that it has never been easier for American visitors to get here. Americans with an interest in Ireland, our rich culture and heritage, will be invited to come and join us during this special year of commemoration.


2014 was a record year for Irish tourism from North America, with more than 1.3 million visits. These visitors were worth more than $1 billion to our economy with a significant impact on job creation throughout the country. Judging by the most recent statistics from the Central Statistics Office, this year looks set to be another record year, with the most recent figures showing growth of 15% in the number of American visitors to Ireland from January to July, compared to the same period of 2014.


As an island destination, direct, convenient and affordable air access remains a key driver of tourism growth. Access from the United States to Ireland has never been easier, with approximately 40,000 one-way seats leaving 11 American gateways for Ireland each week. New flights introduced this year include Washington Dulles to Dublin and New York JFK to Dublin (both operated by Aer Lingus); Chicago to Dublin (United Airlines); and Los Angeles to Dublin (Ethiopian Airlines).


Speaking in advance of his visit, Minster Donohoe said: ‘Tourism has been a key driver of economic growth in Ireland in recent years. On the back of targeted measures introduced by Government to support the sector, 2014 recorded our best year ever for tourism from the American market. This year looks set to top that and in fact it looks like it will break all previous records in terms of total overseas visits. However, as with all sectors of the economy, complacency is our greatest threat to future success. Unless we continue to develop initiatives that we know will appeal to our target markets, and then work hard to promote those initiatives to those markets, we will not continue to flourish. Considerable hard work goes into the planning and execution of overseas trade missions such as this but their impact speaks for itself. I am delighted to be travelling to the U.S. this week to sell the message of Ireland’s Ancient East and the 5,000 years of history it holds. I am looking forward to seeing the reception it gets in Nashville and New York and to the benefits that will accrue in the months and years ahead’.


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The United States is an extremely important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2015 looks set to be another record year, with the most recent CSO figures showing growth of +15% in visitors from North America for January to July, about 111,000 extra visitors compared with the same seven-month period in 2014. Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and we have an extensive programme of promotions under way in the US throughout 2015. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe, particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations.”


Outline of itinerary:

Sunday, 13th September

  • Travel to Nashville, Tennessee

Monday, 14th September

  • Meeting with Lonely Planet Global Executive Team
  • Meeting local GAA group founders, Nashville
  • Meeting with President & CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, supporters of the Music City Irish Festival
  • Meeting Mayor of Nashville andGovernor of Tennessee
  • Tourism Ireland-hosted trade and media event to launch Ireland’s Ancient East to media, corporate, trade and diaspora guests


Tuesday, 15th September

  • Depart Nashville  for New York City
  • Interviews including with America’s top Travel Radio Show, Rudy Maxa’s World
  • Launch of Ireland’s Ancient East to top trade and media followed by reception

Wednesday, 16th September 16:

  • Series of interviews including live TV interview with Emmy award winning hosts of WPIX Morning News on Channel 11 and the leading US travel trade publication, Travel Weekly
  • US market briefing at Tourism Ireland office
  • Working lunch with US Marketing Partnership Group members