IRISH President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina were the guests of honour at a luncheon event hosted by Tourism Ireland in Sydney on Fri.
Higgins is making his first state visit to Australia, and spoke about the deep historical connections between Australia and Ireland.
Tourism continues to be a key sector for Ireland, with about 230,000 Australians visiting the country last year.
Irish tourism product also continues to evolve, with new hotel beds coming online including the Titanic Hotel in Belfast, while the country is lobbying hard to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Tourism Ireland manager Australia and NZ, Sofia Hansson, said the special event helped deliver the message about the “many great reasons to visit the island of Ireland this year”.
Pictured at Sydney’s floral Calyx are, from left: Tourism Ireland ceo Niall Gibbons; Irish Tanaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald; President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins; Sabina Higgins; and Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland head of Australia, New Zealand and North America.