Dáil Question No: 747
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the Gathering in the year 2013 to date, the plans going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 14th May, 2013.
Ref No: 22764/13
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar
I am pleased to report continued good progress on the Gathering Ireland 2013 – Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative. The overall target is to attract at least 325,000 extra overseas visits to Ireland in 2013. If this target is achieved, it will generate an additional €170 million in revenue this year, based on historic spending patterns. Recent figures from the CSO show visit numbers for the first quarter of 2013 up over 86,000 compared to the corresponding period of 2012. This is represents an encouraging start to 2013.
In terms of resources, the 2013 Estimates allocations to Fáilte Ireland include a special provision of €7 million which was specifically provided for The Gathering. This amount is to be used exclusively to fund the promotion, development and legacy of the event and complements support for the initiative from the tourism agencies’ mainstream activities and from national and local partners.
The general response from the public and tourism stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. There are now over 3,500 individual gatherings confirmed on the Gathering website. These include clan gatherings, festivals, special sporting events and concerts taking place all across the country throughout the year. Along with well-established events and festivals, we are also supporting a specially targeted set of events for the Gathering, such as the very successful New Year’s Eve Event in Dublin, while over 6,000 overseas visitors took part in the People’s Parade in Dublin during the St. Patrick’s day festivities.
Obviously the ambitious targets for overseas visits and associated revenue can only be achieved if people in our main source tourism markets are aware of the initiative. Tourism Ireland continues to mount a major consumer campaign to promote The Gathering to the people across the world that feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland. The agency is undertaking cooperative activity with the major airlines and ferry operators to highlight the value fares that are on offer. My colleague, Minister Michael Ring recently launched a brand new app for iPhones and android devices which has been specifically designed for The Gathering Ireland 2013. The “Gathering Gestures” app which is free to download has been created by Tourism Ireland and offers a variety of offers to ensure our overseas visitors get even more from their holiday here.
While progress to date has been encouraging, as I have previously stated, all tourism stakeholders must continue to work hard to ensure that the full potential of the Gathering is realised.