Cash given for 'tourism events'
A series of major sporting and tourism events have been given a 3.4 million euro cash injection from Government.
The financial boost, granted through Failte Ireland, will support the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway, the Tall Ships and Bavaria City Racing in Dublin, the Irish Open Golf in Portrush, the Ladies Irish Open Golf in Meath and the ISAF Youth World Sailing in Dun Laoghaire.
Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said each event has the potential to attract thousands of international visitors and support jobs in the hospitality sector.
"This is a very exciting range of events which will support jobs, generate spending and support the economy at national and local level," said Mr Varadkar.
"These events will showcase Ireland around the world, beaming positive images into millions of living rooms. Our goal is to convert these viewers into visitors to Ireland and use the events to ensure that Ireland features on travel itineraries."
The announcement was made at the annual conference of the Irish Hotels Federation, where hoteliers raised concerns about tourist numbers, wage costs, local authority rates and utility costs.
Mr Varadkar told delegates event-based tourism was a key part of Government's overall tourism strategy.
Festivals and events held in 2010 attracted 433,000 overseas visitors, generating 448 million euro in economic activity and supported 9,000 jobs.
"The Volvo Ocean Race, the Tall Ships and Bavaria City Racing will show the world that a small country like Ireland can host big events in style," he added.
"Other big events are also taking place like the Notre Dame vs Navy American football game. These events market Ireland as a sporting destination to amateur sportspeople around the world."