The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) has marked 20 years of service to tourists in Ireland who have fallen victims of crime by releasing statistics showing that almost 13,000 tourists have accessed the service.
ITAS has dealt with over 7,500 cases of tourist crime and other traumatic incidents over the last 20 years, in addition to helping almost 13,000 tourists from 50 different countries. Most tourists seeking assistance have been victims of theft and on average, 86% of victimised tourists continued their holiday after ITAS intervention.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr. Paschal Donohoe was the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the Guinness Storehouse to mark the 20 year anniversary of ITAS. ITAS was established in 1994 to offer immediate support and assistance to tourists who experience crime while visiting Ireland.
Speaking at the event Minister Donohoe said: “For the small percentage of tourists who become victims of crime while visiting Ireland, ITAS provides professional assistance and support. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved with this unique service – staff, volunteers and members of the tourism and hospitality industry for their continued support and goodwill towards ITAS”.
The Chairman of ITAS, Martin Holohan, said: “ITAS is the only dedicated service in Europe offering specialist assistance to tourist victims of crime. Over the past 20 years 86% of tourists who received assistance from ITAS continued with their holiday plans. This is an excellent indicator of the positive role the service plays in managing negative experiences. We are very proud of what ITAS has achieved to date”.
ITAS is seen as the benchmark of service delivery which other countries aspire to. In 2004, Ann Meade, a founding member, was awarded an MBE in recognition of the service ITAS provides to British visitors and in 2008 Bernard Lavelle, Manager and former volunteer was made a Cavaliere in the Order of The Star of Italian Solidarity by the President of Italy for the support which ITAS has provided to its citizens.
ITAS statistics show that crimes are most likely to occur when tourists are sightseeing, shopping and generally relaxing in restaurants and cafés. The majority of tourists ITAS assist tend to be female aged between 17-25 years and have been victims in Dublin City Centre between 2-6pm.