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Monday 19 February 2018

Tourism industry told to keep prices low after €170m Gathering boost

Junior minister Michael Ring
Junior minister Michael Ring

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

THE tourism industry has been warned to keep its prices low to reap the rewards of The Gathering.

The Gathering tourism promotion provided a €170m windfall, with an impressive 275,000 additional visitors lured to Ireland.

Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring said the sector had benefited from the lower rate of VAT and the investment in The Gathering.

"The tourism trade must keep the prices low," he said.

Mr Ring said it was important to acknowledge the contribution of emigrants to the success of The Gathering.

"I want to thank the diaspora and emigrant groups that came out in every city to back The Gathering," he said.

Mr Ring, pictured, travelled to several cities in Britain -- including Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow -- last year to promote The Gathering.

"When I was speaking to them, the common denominator was we had forgotten about them when the tiger was roaring," he said.

"We mustn't forget about them. They supported us when we needed support," he said.

Meanwhile, millions of American television viewers are to be blitzed with a series of ads over the Christmas holiday period intended to lure them to our shores in the new year.

Starting on Christmas Day, the charms of the Emerald Isle will be beamed on local networks in New York, Boston and Chicago as part of a Tourism Ireland's 2014 campaign.

The slick ads will also include a spot on NBC's Christmas night special featuring Canadian crooner Michael Buble, which is expected to draw millions of viewers across America.

The 30-second trailer features stunning scenery from the West coast as part of the new Wild Atlantic Way -- a driving tour route running from Kinsale to Donegal.

Tourism Ireland chief Niall Gibbons said the tourism body hopes to capitalise on the success of The Gathering this year with this new initiative.

He said: "2013 has been a record year for American visitors to Ireland -- even surpassing our previous best year of 2007."

Mr Gibbons said figures showed Ireland had welcomed over one million US visitors, who spent $1bn (€730m).

"We aim to build on this success in 2014. We will continue to implement our strategy -- Make Ireland Jump Out -- targeting new audiences with strong potential for growth through a very extensive programme of promotions," he said.

Irish Independent

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