The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, today welcomed the statement by the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, that he intends to visit Ireland in May. “As the Taoiseach said, this visit by President Obama will be another great day for Ireland. Coming so soon after the visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Ireland will have a golden opportunity to demonstrate its welcome to millions of potential visitors worldwide,” said Minister of State Ring.
“I know that the tourism agencies will be pulling out all the stops to make the most of these visits to deliver a major boost for Irish tourism in 2011 and beyond. Not only are Queen Elizabeth and President Obama the Heads of State of our two most significant overseas tourism markets, they are figures who attract coverage from across the globe, in every marketplace.”
The Minister of State added “Tourism Ireland, the all–island body which promotes the island of Ireland as a tourist destination overseas, is already working hard to make the most of the Queen’s visit to show Ireland at its best to the world as well as to potential visitors from Great Britain. I am sure that they are already moving to bring more on board for the President’s visit, particularly focusing on the opportunity to bring Ireland’s attractions to potential US visitors. Fáilte Ireland, which supports the tourism industry in Ireland, will be working closely with Tourism Ireland to make sure that our official visitors – and those who travel with them – experience the very best that Ireland has to offer.”
The US is traditionally Ireland’s second largest overseas tourism market.
In 2010, there were 935,000 visits to Ireland from US and Canada and, while overall 2010 numbers were down on 2009, the last quarter of 2010 saw a strong rebound, with the number of visits from North America up by 13.9%.
The Minister of State commented “The upcoming visits by both Her Majesty the Queen and the President will allow Irish tourism to secure and build on the recovery in our North American markets – as well as keeping Ireland in the eye of potential visitors from Britain and help drive renewed growth from that market”. Great Britain was the source of 2.7 million visits to Ireland in 2010.
“The forthcoming visit by President Obama is just one example of how the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, is highlighting Ireland’s strengths to our overseas partners and is a strong vote of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government. I am sure that his US visit will bring more good news to Ireland “, concluded Minister of State Ring.