Week’s events: ITAS report, Dublin Horse Show and Ireland as one of the friendliest destinations in the world

9th August, 2014

This week was another busy one, as I settle into my new Department (Transport, Tourism & Sport). I had plenty of meetings and briefing sessions, as well as attending a number of events to meet the people from the industries relevant to my Department.


On Wednesday, I was at the Guinness Storehouse to launch the 2013 report of the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS). The event coincided with the 20 year anniversary celebration of ITAS. The report outlined that since the service’s inception it has aided around 13,000 tourists who have been victims of crime in Ireland. Despite the fact that Ireland remains one of the safest destinations in the world for tourists, unfortunately criminals persist in taking advantage of those who are relaxed and in unfamiliar surroundings. The service does great work in offering emotional and practical support and they were delighted to report that thanks to their efforts, 92%  of those that ITAS assisted last year opted to continue their holiday in Ireland, despite the unpleasantness they had experienced.


On Friday, I visited the Discover Ireland Horse Show at the RDS which hosted stands from a range of equestrian, food and tourist industries. I spoke to many of those in attendance, all of whom reported an increase in business and who expressed confidence in what Ireland is offering. I also met with a group of Australian tour operators who are here to see Ireland and, if they like what they see, to encourage their countrymen and women to pay us a visit.


Ensuring that we retain value for money for visitors, and Irish people, is key as the tourist industry bounces back. The recent tourism figures from the CSO which show that visitor numbers for the first six months of the year are up 10.3% on the same time last year are encouraging. So too, is the fact that Conde Naste Traveller this weekend, voted Ireland the fifth most welcoming urban destination in the world, which definitely concurs with what I have been hearing from tourists in recent weeks. It is my job to ensure that the right decisions are made to sustain this growth and build on it into the future.