On July 13th, 2023, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Claire D. Cronin, delivered a speech at TravelMedia.ie‘s annual USA Summer Soirée, held at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Her address was attended by travel trade and media professionals who had gathered to celebrate the enduring connections between the United States and Ireland.
Ambassador Cronin began her speech by expressing her sincere appreciation for the warm welcome she received and the familiar faces in attendance. Reflecting on her previous meeting a year ago, she praised the determined efforts to see a strong recovery in travel and tourism. Her pride in the audience’s hard work was evident as she mentioned Ireland’s leap from 16th to 15th in the global table of inbound travel to the United States. She further highlighted Ireland’s impressive achievement in generating the highest travel per capita to the U.S. and set a challenging goal to reach single digits in the ranking next year.
The Ambassador expressed her gratitude for the efforts to bring Irish visitation to the United States back to pre-pandemic levels. In a significant nod to the close relationship between the two nations, she recalled the historic homecoming of President Biden to Ireland in April 2023. She referenced his speech in Ballina, emphasizing the deep connections of history, heritage, sorrows, friendship, joys, and future between Ireland and America. Cronin’s speech urged the audience to look to the future, influenced by memories and stories passed down through generations.
Cronin’s speech took a personal turn as she shared an anecdote about her family’s summer vacations to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, specifically focusing on a tradition of visiting an ice cream parlor called Sundae School. This story evolved into an allegory for the importance of creating memories and the profound impact of seemingly simple experiences.
Her tale about her daughters’ work at Sundae School under Mr. Paul Endress, a school teacher and ice cream parlor owner, served to highlight the importance of training, work ethic, and the extraordinary idea that scooping ice cream was more about creating memories than mere service. This concept was extended to the audience of travel professionals, as Cronin eloquently compared their work in promoting tourism to the creation of priceless memories.
The Ambassador’s speech culminated in a powerful reflection on the role of travel professionals not only in marketing and sales but in the cherished task of creating memories that transcend generations. She celebrated the more than 400,000 Irish residents who traveled to the United States last year for work, school, or vacation, and the 14,400 visas processed by the U.S. embassy this year (2023).
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