The hosting of major sports competitions, both participative and spectator sports, can provide great opportunities to showcase Ireland and drive international visitor numbers. In addition, the media coverage of sports events helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination.
Accordingly, I am very supportive of the work of the tourism agencies and the national governing bodies of sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs and benefits involved in any State financial support, in particular the number of overseas visitors.
Fáilte Ireland provides financial assistance, subject to eligibility criteria, to applicants who are proposing to bid to host international events (including sporting events) in Ireland that would attract significant numbers of international visitors. When an event with international tourism appeal is confirmed for Ireland, Tourism Ireland would then promote it in relevant markets overseas.
In terms of forthcoming sporting events, Ireland will host four games as part of the UEFA EURO 2020 football tournament in June 2020 - three group games and one round of 16 game. The bid to host was a collaborative effort between the Football Association of Ireland, Dublin City Council and my Department. Depending on qualification, up to 160,000 overseas visitors may attend Euro 2020 matches in Dublin. Ireland is also currently hosting the UEFA European Under 17 Championships.
Minister Ross and I also support efforts to explore possibilities to host other major sporting events. With regard to soccer, we welcomed the announcement by the FAI and IFA of their intention to submit a joint bid to host the UEFA European Under 21 Championships in 2023. In addition, the national football associations of the United Kingdom and Ireland are in discussions about the feasibility of bidding to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. This consideration is at an early stage.
In the sport of golf, Minister Ross and Department officials met with representatives of the PGA European Tour at the Ryder Cup in Paris last year to discuss the possible hosting of a future Ryder Cup in Ireland. The PGA European Tour subsequently visited Dublin and met the Taoiseach and Minister Ross. The purpose of these meetings was to explore the opportunities that may exist for hosting the Ryder Cup in the future and considerations are ongoing in this regard.
Sport Ireland and Failte Ireland have both supported the bid to host the European Cross-Country Championship which was successfull and now will be hosted in Dublin in December 2020.