Leading Midwest Tourism Agencies To Promote Shannon Airport In United States

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Sun Aug 12 2007

A delegation of leading Irish tourism development agencies has embarked on a five day promotional drive in the United States aimed at showcasing Shannon Airport as a key gateway to Ireland. The trip comes just days after Aer Lingus announced plans to cease operating its daily direct service from Shannon Airport to London Heathrow.

Over the coming days representatives of Clare County Council, Shannon Development, Clare Tourist Council, Clare Tourism Forum and Shannon Heritage will meet with members of the Irish-American business community in Chicago before attending the world's largest Irish culture festival in Wisconsin. Last year, over 3000 people from the American Midwest and Northeast booked flights directly into Shannon Airport as a result of the Clare tourism delegation's presence at the Milwaukee Irish Fest.

"Aer Lingus's axing of services from Shannon to Heathrow has led to fears that the airline could be capable of curtailing or even ceasing its direct services from the County Clare airport to the US. That is why this week's promotional drive takes on added importance for the tourism agencies in the Midwest", stated Mayor of Clare Cllr. Patricia McCarthy.

Mayor McCarthy added, "The Clare tourism delegation's US trip represents a collaborative and proactive approach to promoting county Clare and Shannon Airport. The benefits of adopting such an approach are clear with thousands of bookings being made from this region."

"The introduction of Open Skies has raised concerns over whether the level of transatlantic business at the airport can be sustained. This is further compounded by Aer Lingus’s recent announcement on services from Shannon to Heathrow. Clare County Council, along with other leading tourism bodies in Ireland’s mid-west region, has adopted a more proactive approach in a bid to maintain and build on this business by marketing the airport as a key gateway to the west of Ireland. Over the coming days we will seek to raise awareness of the many airlines operating flight services between Shannon and New York, Boston and Chicago", explained Mayor of McCarthy.

The Milwaukee Irish Fest, established in 1981 by members of city's Irish community, is renowned as the world's largest Irish culture festival. Covering 74 acres of Lake Michigan's shoreline the event showcases Irish music, history, dance, sports and culture. The Festival, which runs from August 16th-19th, is also used by tourist agencies such as Fáilte Ireland and CIE Tours as an opportunity to market Ireland as a desirable tourist destination.

Meanwhile, County Clare has been named at the central theme of this Fest. The Clare tourism delegation will be located in the festival's 'Cultural Village' where tens of thousands of promotional brochures on Shannon Airport and the region's tourist attractions will be distributed to over 140,000 festivalgoers.

Paddy Maher, PRO of the Clare Tourist Council said that Shannon Airport had reached a critical juncture in its spectacular transatlantic history and that Open Skies presented many opportunities if properly harnessed.

"These opportunities can only be grasped when the Government delivers on the proposed marketing funds for the Airport. The focused and dedicated marketing of the Airport cannot happen without this support. We have experienced the positive business effects of marketing Shannon Airport and Clare at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. We are certain of continued business growth in Clare, if events like Irish Fest could be multiplied with other focused dedicated marketing activity in the USA", stated Mr. Maher.

John Quinlivan of Shannon Development explained that Shannon Airport had always been a driver of Tourism in the Midwest of Ireland and was now a vital component in the promotion of the entire Western Regions.

"The Airport is directly and indirectly responsible for over 30,000 jobs on the Western Seaboard of Ireland. Milwaukee Irish Fest offers an important and unique opportunity to increase the profile and promote access through the Airport. Shannon Development sees Milwaukee Irish Fest as an integral part of their promotion to develop and expand traffic through Shannon to the benefit of the entire Region", stated Mr. Quinlivan.

A number of US radio and television appearances by the travelling Clare tourist delegation have been organised ahead of the trip. The current and former Mayors of Clare, Councillors Patricia McCarthy and Flan Garvey will be interviewed live on the FOX NEWS television network on Thursday 16th August.

County Clare's presence at the Milwaukee Irish Fest was established in 2001 when former Mayor Cllr. Flan Garvey instigated a local tourism promotion campaign.


Notes to Editor:
- Mayor of Clare Patricia McCarthy (087-4187132), Paddy Maher, Clare Tourist Council (087-2850926) and John Quinlivan, Shannon Development (086-2230510) are available for interview.
- High-resolution images of the travelling Clare delegation and of the Milwaukee Irish Fest 2006 are available on request. Please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 00353-868534900 or media@dunphypr.com

Mark Dunphy
Dunphy Public Relations
County Clare
00353-868534900 (Mobile)
00353-656839692 (Fax)
Company: Dunphy Public Relations
Contact Name: Mark Dunphy
Contact Email: media@dunphypr.com
Contact Phone: 00353868534900

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