Dáil Éireann - Volume 615 - 01 March, 2006
Written Answers. - Official Travel.
Mr. O’Shea Mr. O’Shea
39. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding his recent visit to India; the efforts he made to promote Irish tourism and the arts here during that trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8192/06]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: I visited India last January as part of a major mission led by the Taoiseach. The purpose of this mission, which visited Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, was to move the long-standing relationship between Ireland and India to a broader and deeper level of co-operation and partnership, particularly in the light of India’s emerging importance as a global player.
The departmental objectives of my participation in the mission to India were fourfold: (1) to sign, on behalf of the Government, a cultural co-operation agreement with India; (2) to promote tourism; (3) to promote Ireland as a location for Indian film-makers; and (4) to promote Ireland as a source of high-quality thoroughbred mares and stallions for the Indian market.
In relation to cultural co-operation, I signed an agreement with India on 19 January 2006 in the presence of the two Heads of Government. My Department has begun work on a draft implementation framework which it will submit to the Indian side in due course with a view to seeing tangible benefits flowing from this agreement.
India is now emerging as a significant outbound tourism market. Tourism Ireland has established an office in Mumbai and there were two tourism-related functions, one in Delhi and one in Mumbai. The Taoiseach and I attended and spoke at both events.
There was a very strong turn-out and an excellent response from the trade. Media presence and coverage was extensive and very positive and did a lot to start building a wider awareness of Ireland as a destination.
India is home to the largest film industry in the world, in terms of number of full length features made. The two film boards, North and South, in  conjunction with Tourism Ireland, used the mission to highlight the attractions of Ireland as a location for Indian movies.
In recent years India has become a growing market for Irish thoroughbreds. There were three thoroughbred-related events, including a very successful first running of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing sponsored Irish trophy race at Mumbai racecourse which, I am pleased to say, was won by an Irish horse ridden by an Irish jockey.
Dáil Éireann 615 Written Answers. Official Travel.