Minister Donohoe travels to Madrid as part of Govt’s St. Patrick’s Day programme

17th March, 2016

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, will today (Thursday) travel to Madrid as part of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day programme.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘It is an honour to represent Ireland abroad as part of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day programme. Of course, this year is exceptionally special as we commemorate the events of 1916, which also involves hundreds of events overseas that form part of our Global and Diaspora Programme’.


“The opportunity that St. Patrick’s Day gives us to showcase Ireland and to shine a global spotlight on our small country is unparalleled. The last few years have been difficult for us but through hard work and targeted investment in sectors, such as tourism, we have made real progress with unemployment, our national debt and public finances.


“Last year saw a record breaking year for Irish tourism when we welcomed 8.5 million overseas visitors. This represented an additional million visitors on the previous year. Just this week, the CSO outlined that this performance has resulted in an 18.6% rise in spending in the Irish economy by those visitors, to a total value of €4.2 billion, which is great news for jobs and local businesses.


“Spain has played a strong role in that, with the number of Spanish visitors to Ireland having tripled since 2000. Spain is now the fifth most important market for Irish tourism in terms of visitor numbers and the sixth most important in terms of revenue. Last year almost 350,000 Spaniards visited us which was a record year for Spain and a huge +18% increase on 2014.


“Recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day has significantly increased in Madrid in recent years, with 2016 representing just the second time that that city has been included as a destination for a Ministerial visit. In a bid to continue to maximise our attractiveness to the Spanish market I also recently launched a strategy for Spain with Tourism Ireland and support initiatives such as the Global Greening get the tourism year off to a strong start and generate widespread publicity for Ireland at minimal cost.”


Among the engagement Minister Donohoe will undertake in Madrid are:


Thursday 17 March

  • St. Patrick’s Day mass celebrated by Archbishop of Madrid, Msgr. Carlos Osoro Sierra


Friday 18 March

  • Breakfast meeting with leading tour operators, online travel agents, and English language tour operators
  • Promotional event with Enterprise Ireland client
  • Bilateral meeting  Minister for Education, Culture & Sport
  • Bord Bia luncheon with Irish food suppliers
  • Visit to Primark store, Madrid city centre
  • Attendance at the St. Patrick’s Day Charity Ball