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Sat 20 Apr, 2024
Saturday 20 Apr, 2024
Promoting Ireland


Cork County Council
Cork County

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Promoting Ireland
IHF joins Cork Tourism Delegation to Chicago for St Patrick's Day
Supporting hospitality students from the US to avail of a 12 month Working Holiday Authorisation
 Thurs 21st March 2024


Pictured: Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn led a trade and tourism delegation to Chicago as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The delegation, including IHF President Michael Magner and IHF Cork Branch Chair Joe Kennedy, met with Consul General Mr. Kevin Byrne, and with President Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board of Commissioners, to discuss the Working Holiday Authorisation Programme that supports hospitality students from the US in availing of a 12 month Working Holiday Authorisation while participating in practical training across a number of Cork hotels.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) was delighted to take part in a recent trade and tourism delegation to Chicago led by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to mark 25 years of the Cork County Cook County Sistership agreement and highlight the opportunities around the Working Holiday Authorisation Programme.

In 2023, Cork County Council announced a sponsorship programme in association with the IHF, supporting hospitality students from the US to avail of a 12 month Working Holiday Authorisation and participate in practical training across a number of Cork hotels. The programme saw Cork County Council and the IHF sponsor the travel costs of the students with the IHF providing accommodation and further training to the participating students.

Cork County Council’s delegation met with Consul General Mr. Kevin Byrne, and with President Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board of Commissioners, to discuss the Working Holiday Authorisation Programme and in particular to hear from Eduardo Solano, the programme’s first participant who has just completed his work placement with Cork’s Vienna Woods Hotel. A further 10 students have expressed their interest in the programme and plan on participating shortly.

President of the Irish Hotels Federation and owner of Cork’s historic Vienna Woods Hotel Michael Magner added, “This is a fantastic programme and a great example of international collaboration promoting career opportunities within our sector. It is an exciting time for anyone interested in pursuing a career in tourism and hospitality with so many options open to everyone. Irish hotels are right at the heart of this supporting over 65,000 livelihoods, and we are always looking to attract more people to our sector. The initiative is a win-win for all involved, and I look forward to seeing this programme develop and expand further in the coming years.”

The initiative has also been endorsed by the Tánaiste Micheál Martin who stated, “Thousands of young Irish people travel to the United States every summer to gain valuable work and life experience. Likewise, Ireland welcomes young Americans through our Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA) programme to spend up to a year working in Ireland and discovering our unique culture. This joint initiative with Cork County Council, the Irish Hotels Federation and the Department of Foreign Affairs gives American hospitality students and graduates the opportunity to spend time working in hotels in Cork, developing new skills and contributing their talents and hard work to the hospitality sector. I hope that this innovative partnership can be replicated across the country as we seek to strengthen and expand the strong friendship and economic ties between Ireland and the United States.”

Mayor O’Flynn went on to say, “We have a unique opportunity to promote the Cork region from both a tourism and investment perspective with the huge levels of publicity and media attention generated during the St. Patrick’s Festival. This international connection is another positive step towards enhancing cultural exchange and tourism promotion between Cork County and the Midwest United States. We have established a fantastic relationship through our long-standing sister agreement with Cook County and annual visit to Chicago with this programme a very welcome result. I hope that after 12 months the students will return home with new skills and encourage their families and friends to come and visit Ireland. I look forward to building on this partnership and exploring new opportunities for collaboration in the future.”


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