Irish Minister for Tourism visits San Diego

Joe O’Donnell, Russell McHugh, Alison Metcalfe (Head of North America for Tourism Ireland), Leo Varadkar (Irish Minister of Tourism), Niall Gibbons (CEO of Tourism Ireland), Eilis McKay, Philip Grant (Irish Consul General), Neil McKay

The Irish Minister for Tourism, Leo Varadkar, accompanied by Irish Consul general, Philip Grant, and CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, recently visited San Diego as part of a high profile visit to the West Coast in support of tourism, business, and investment objectives. The Minister’s visit will also promote the new direct air services between Dublin and San Francisco beginning next year, and will highlight the success of the “Gathering” initiative, which resulted in a 7 percent increase in the number of tourists to Ireland in 2013. The luncheon at the UCSD Faculty Club was hosted by Tourism Ireland and Irish Network San Diego (INSD). INSD, launched in 2009, hosted the first-ever visit of an Irish Ambassador to San Diego in 2012.

Forty million Americans claim Irish Heritage, and the relationship between the U.S. and Ireland has always been important to both countries. Over 1 million tourists visit Ireland each year from America for golf, equestrian activities, genealogical searches, or just relaxation. Photos/Jon Clark; For photos online, visit