Varadkar hopes 'Gathering' will generate €200 million

Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 00:00

Community groups, sports clubs and universities will all be drafted in to help attract 300,000 extra visitors to Ireland next year, bringing in some €200 million in additional revenue.

Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar yesterday announced The Gathering 2013 initiative, which centres on 12 major events throughout next year.

Announcing the initiative outside Leinster House, Mr Varadkar said it was a call to the Irish diaspora and to people with a love of Ireland to visit next year for one of the big events planned. Twelve major events, including Bloomsday and St Patrick’s Day and the Heineken Cup final, will be used as a focus for the initiative.

“The aim is to bring in an additional 300,000 or so extra visitors to Ireland that year, which would bring an extra €200 million in revenue into the economy,” the Minister said.

Mr Varadkar said this would involve getting communities, local authorities, alumni organisations and sports clubs to make contact with people overseas who might visit Ireland in 2013. He hoped the media might also become involved, perhaps by holding a major conference.

The Minister said it was “very much targeted at the diaspora” – both the living diaspora of people who had left the country in recent years and also the “generational diaspora”.

He said huge numbers of people had also studied or had undergone work experience in Ireland.

Ministers will launch the initiative internationally during their St Patrick’s Day trips abroad next week.