If you've been wondering when to make that long-postponed trip back to Ireland, now's the time. That's the message Irish Minister for Tourism and Culture Catherine Martin was in the US this week to promote, crisscrossing the country to get the word out with help from Tourism Ireland. 

“To travel over to us all you need is proof of vaccination, or proof of recovery, or a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before you land and then just fill out your passenger location form,” Martin told IrishCentral this week. “It's pretty straightforward and Ireland will fully reopen on October 22nd.” 

The message to American tourists (the second-largest source market for tourism to the island) is that it's safe to return and the legendary Irish welcome will be waiting for you. “We are open, we have missed you, come back!” Martin adds.

Currently, Irish restaurants are open, but (just like here) you need to present proof of vaccination. “I would expect that to be lifted once we get to the full reopening date of October 22,” Martin told IrishCentral. 

“Meanwhile our galleries, our indoor visitor attractions and our guided tours are all back since the middle of September – and music, which as you know is as a huge part of who we are, is also back. Right now we're at 60% capacity in music venues, but we'll move to a hundred percent on October 22nd. So when you return you will get the full Irish experience.”

What Americans might not know is that just as they missed traveling abroad, they have been missed in Ireland too Martin says.

“We've missed that connection between our two countries and we're delighted to be finally hearing your accents again from our returning US visitors. All we want to do this week is to remind people here how safe and how easy it is to travel to us again.”

Cliffs of Moher welcome you back

Cliffs of Moher welcome you back

Pre-covid in 2019, 1.7 million US visitors visited Ireland, generating 1.9 billion US dollars. In 2019, Ireland also had over 11 million international visitors, creating 350,000 Irish jobs. 

“I'm launching the Green Button campaign with Tourism Ireland this week to send the clear message to press green for go, green for travel, green to signal we have reopened, green for rolling green carpets, and green for the Cead Mile Failte (the hundred thousand welcomes) when you arrive,” Martin added. 

Tourism Ireland's Green Button campaign, which went live in the US on 27 September, is a concerted effort to re-start tourism and encourage Americans to book Ireland as their next holiday destination.

The 4.1 million euro campaign will target six key gateways and eleven priority cities to reach and engage the audiences who have the highest potential to travel to the island of Ireland.

Press the Green Button and return to Ireland new campaign asks

Press the Green Button and return to Ireland new campaign asks

“The statistics suggest there might be about 35 million people in the U S who would claim Irish ancestry,” says Martin. “We're reaching out to those people to come back, but also to those who don't have an Irish ancestor, because I think they will absolutely enjoy what we have to offer. 

“You don't have to have Irish roots to visit Yeats country. You don't have to have Irish roots to love the Irish music, or to admire the beauty of Dingle, the Cliffs of Moher or the Burren. Our warm welcome is extended to everyone.”

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