Now Garth is Irish tourism's secret weapon
GARTH Brooks is proving to be the new secret weapon for the Irish tourist industry – bringing in 100,000 visitors to the country next month.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar has revealed that up to a quarter of the 400,000 tickets sold for the country music legend's five-night run in Croke Park next month have gone overseas.
"That's up to 100,000 visitors coming to Dublin in late July specially to see Garth Brooks. It is a very good boost for trade and there is also the hope that this will generate further business," a tourism source said last night.
At the same time, Mr Varadkar is working to have the big-name American football match at Croke Park become a regular fixture.
The 2012 Notre Dame versus Navy American football fixture brought a €60m dividend to Ireland, with some 35,000 US visitors coming to the country.
The fixture will be repeated on August 30 with a game between University of Florida and Penn State at Croke Park.
"The Croke Park Classic this year will also be a great event. Given the natural affinity between Ireland and the US, and our mutual love of sport, I would love to see Ireland hosting American college games on a more regular basis," Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent.
He said he would suggest to sports bodies, tourism agencies, and others in the tourism sector that Ireland could and should be marketed as a natural venue for college football teams.