Tourism Ireland planning to go ahead with global St Patrick's Day festivities despite coronavirus fears

“It is important to remain calm and measured,” said chief executive Niall Gibbons.

Tourism Ireland planning to go ahead with global St Patrick's Day festivities despite coronavirus fears

Tourism Ireland has said it is still planning to go ahead with St Patrick’s Day promotions around the world despite concerns about the coronavirus.

“It is important to remain calm and measured,” said chief executive Niall Gibbons.

However, Mr Gibbons told RTÉ's News at One that the organisation that promotes Ireland as a tourist destination, has scaled back its activities in China and has cancelled some marketing activities planned for Milan this weekend.

Conditions in China are difficult and operations there have been “stood down” while Irish staff returned home, he said.

The situation is unfolding on a day to day basis and Tourism Ireland is keeping in touch with Ryanair and Aer Lingus with whom they have joint promotions planned. “Italy has moved us on to a new chapter.”

An event for Italian tour operators in Milan this weekend has been postponed and staff in Tourism Ireland’s Milan office are working from home, he explained.

“Things will bounce back as they did after the Sars outbreak,” predicted Mr Gibbons. The Chinese market bounced back by 600 per cent at that time, he said.

The China market is being treated with care, he said. There are more people already in recovery there from the virus.

There are good prospects in the North American market with increased flights while the UK market has also improved because of the improved performance of sterling, added Mr Gibbons.

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