A State tourism agency last year paid more than €52,000 for Ryder Cup tickets to entertain clients and VIPs at the international golf tournament.
Tourism Ireland said it had bought 44 corporate hospitality tickets for the event in Wisconsin at a cost of around €1,195 each.
The agency said it had used fewer than half the tickets for corporate entertainment, with the remainder allocated to Enterprise Ireland and the IDA for their use.
The Ryder Cup website said corporate hospitality tickets included a different daily menu each day with a continental breakfast, a full lunch, afternoon food service and desserts.
Six hours of open bar at the Whistling Straits course were also on offer with “an assortment of beer, wine, and liquor … included each day”.
One of the tickets – which cost $1,350 – went unused after the person who was supposed to use it had to change their travel plans due to Covid-19.
Among those hosted at the Ryder Cup were Tourism Minister Catherine Martin who was on a tourism promotion visit to the US at the time. That visit cost almost €20,000 for her four-person delegation.
Tourism Ireland said of the 44 tickets bought, it had used 14 on Friday, September 24th last year, and another two the following day.
For the golf on Friday, the tickets were provided to a US talk-show host, an Aer Lingus representative, an “Emmy award-winning host and executive producer”, an award-winning golf author and presenter, and a “golf radio and TV personality”.
The Consul General of Ireland, based in Chicago, and the Vice Consul General also got tickets that day, with six more passes shared between the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
Those two state agencies took the bulk of the tickets for Saturday’s round, with another two tickets provided to the “lead on [the] Ireland IMAX movie project”.
Ten tickets were also provided to the IDA and Enterprise Ireland for the final day of action on Sunday.
Tourism Ireland said that with the Ryder Cup set to visit Ireland’s Adare Manor in 2027, an extensive programme of promotion in key international golf markets was planned in the years to come.
An information note said: “Ryder Cup 2020 took place at Whistling Straits at the end of September, providing a valuable opportunity for Tourism Ireland to continue to promote our world-class golf in the all-important United States market and to begin highlighting Ireland as the venue for Ryder Cup 2027.
“Tourism Ireland took the opportunity to invite some of our influential travel trade and media contacts to attend the event.”
The 2020 Ryder Cup was postponed for a year because of the pandemic.
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