Irish eyes are smiling

Tourism Ireland pulled out all stops last month when it hosted a Sydney event to welcome the first official state visit of Irish president Michael D. Higgins to Australia. Key industry partners gathered at the funky new Calyx venue in the Botanic Gardens for a formal luncheon which also featured some enchanting Irish music. Dignitaries in attendance included several ambassadors as well as Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s deputy head of government, with the event addressed by Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons.

Also present was Alison Metcalfe, the recently appointed New York-based Head of North America & Australia/NZ, who told travelBulletin Australians stay longer and spend more than visitors from other markets. Ireland is also keen to further develop Dublin as a point of entry for visitors to Europe, with direct flights into the Irish capital from key carriers including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways along with newcomer Cathay Pacific, which will launch its new HKG-DUB route in June 2018.