HomeEventsUSA Summer Soiree - 2023

USA Summer Soiree – 2023

Travel Media held their annual USA Summer Soirée last night in the 5-star Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. The event attracts over 200 attendees from trade and media. ITTN’s Carrie Day, Allie Sheehan and Shane Cullen attended.

US Travel is Back

Jenny Rafter (Chairperson of the Visit Ireland Committee & Head of Global Sales Aer Lingus) detailed how US travel is back for our country. For Ireland, the US Airlift is fully restored. There are direct flights to 16 cities across the United States. Passenger numbers have reached pre-pandemic levels. From a forward-looking perspective, there are positive economic conditions favouring continued recovery. This is coupled with a strong consumer appetite for travel. From the travel trade, indications are that 2024 will be good.

Deep Connections

Claire D. Cronin (US Ambassador to Ireland) spoke to the crowd, highlighting that we are in the business of making memories. She emphasised the value of the hugely popular J1 visas which strengthen links between Ireland and the USA. Often, the experiences of our young travellers in the USA are relived as Irish journey back to old haunts with the next generation in tow to reminisce and share the connection.

Sponsors & Speakers

The event was sponsored by CTVISIT – Connecticut Tourism Office, New Jersey – VisitNJ.org, Dublin Airport, Bradley International and Brand USA.

Dublin Airport

Vincent Harrison (Managing Director – Dublin Airport DAA) shared statistics on Ireland’s busiest airport and how it is benefiting from faster security times due to the new security machines in situ at Dublin Airport. A staggering 3.25 million passengers travelling on almost 22,000 flights passed through Dublin Airport in June of this year. 98% of passengers passed through security in less than 20 minutes, and 78% in less than 10 minutes.


Tony Sheridan and Sharon Trafficante (Chair of the Connecticut Airports Board and Deputy Exec Director of Connecticut Airports, respectively) laid claim to Connecticut being the most beautiful part of New England (having travelled through parts of New England, it’s a challenging call on who would get first spot but the entire region is picture-perfect).

Bradley International Airport

Bradley International Airport has also earned the impressive accolade of “Second Best Airport in the US” in Condé Nast Traveler, Readers’ Choice Awards. In fact, in the last 6 years, the airport has been recognised in the top 10.

Susan Henrique (CMP Global Travel Industry Sales – Connecticut Office of Tourism) shared a video, highlighting the beauty of this state which is home to 110 state parks, 32 state forests and hundreds of outdoor activities.

New Jersey

Greg Evans (New Jersey Travel & Tourism) took to the stage with thunderous applause leading Jeffery Vasser (Executive Director – New Jersey Travel & Tourism) to comment on how they had definitely appointed the right guy for the job. As they highlighted, both the Statue of Liberty and Newark Airport are both New Jersey so you may have already visited the state and hadn’t realised it.

The Garden State offers over 200km of stunning shorelines from the Boardwalk in Atlantic City in the North to Cape May in the South and plenty in between. Don’t forget the tax-free shopping!

Brand USA

Louise Baily (Account Director UK & Ireland – Brand USA) and Sarah Beckwith (Trade Manager UK & Ireland – Brand USA) highlighted the new & improved trade portal to upskill on all things USA. Brand USA has significant resources to aid itinerary planning and marketing – https://traveltrade.visittheusa.com/. Don’t forget the GoUSA television channel & app for more content covering the United States.

Paul Hackett (President of the Irish Travel Agents Association (“ITAA”) and CEO of Click & Go) was presented with a bouquet of flowers from Clare Dunne (CEO of ITAA) with this evening marking one of the final events during his tenure as President of the ITAA. He will be hugely missed as he steps back from the role (good luck to the next person with the title – they’re mighty big boots to fill!).

Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen has been managing director of a media production studio for nearly 20 years working on projects for a global clientele. He has worked in the travel industry for over a decade and as a travel journalist since 2015. He is passionate about travel, film & photography. He also has a keen interest in emerging technology.

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