Hubert McHugh, Leitrim County Council (LCC); Finola Armstrong-McGuire, Cathaoirleach of LCC; Orla Carey and Virginia Goff, both Tourism Ireland, Joseph Gilhooly, Deputy Chief Executive
Representatives of Leitrim County Council, who are in New York for the St Patrick’s Day period, met with senior executives from Tourism Ireland yesterday.
The United States is the second-largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland. 2017 was the fifth record-breaking year in a row for Irish tourism from the US, whenwe welcomed a record 1.83 American visitors. Tourism Ireland recently launched a new strategy to continue to grow tourism from the United States, setting out ambitious targets which will see the island of Ireland welcome 2 million American visitors per year by 2021, representing growth of +23%; and will see revenue generated by American holidaymakers increase by +33%, to €1.37 billion per year.
Tourism Ireland is creating ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route and Ireland’s Ancient East. Promotions aim to grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons.
“We were delighted to meet with the representatives of Leitrim County Council and to have the opportunity to brief them about the extensive promotional programme we are undertaking in the United States this year,” said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America. “Last year, we welcomed a record 1.83 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland. 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. Our aim is to deliver a +5% increase in visitor numbers and +7% increase in revenue from North America in 2018.
“St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us; our aim is to bring a smile to the faces of people everywhereand to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as wonderful scenery and heritage. We are using every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile this week; the saturation coverage about Ireland at this time of year – across the airwaves, in newspapers and digital media – is an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive in 2018.
Over the coming days, Tourism Ireland will participate in and promote the island of Ireland at a range of St Patrick’s Day events across the United States. Numerous landmarks and iconic sites will participate in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative to celebrate St Patrick and Ireland – including the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas, City Hall in San Francisco, Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi and the world-famous Niagara Falls. And Chicago will be going all out to celebrate St Patrick and Ireland once again this year, with sites across the city lighting up green – including Soldier Field, Navy Pier, the John Hancock Center, the Civic Opera House, the Wrigley Building,Novak Construction, State Street and the Irish American Heritage Center.