On April 1st 2019, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins hosted a reception at his State residence, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Irish Tourist Assistance Service, ITAS. The service, set up in 1994 provides immediate support and assistance to international visitors who experience crime and other traumatic events while visiting Ireland.
20 years after being assaulted in Ireland, which left him severely disabled, Italian national Guido Nasi, and his mother Simonetta, were the special guests of honour for the occasion. Other guests included the founding members of the service, sponsors, representatives from the police and embassies, as well as Bernadette Kelly, ITAS volunteer, who provided essential support in the aftermath of Guido’s assault and is now a firm friend of the Nasi family.
After an address from the President, he mingled with guests in the State reception rooms. The reception by the President was a positive endorsement of the work carried out by the service over the past 25 years, and the contribution that everyone involved makes to ensure the best outcome for tourists who experience crime.
ITAS is the only dedicated national service in Europe offering specialist support to international visitors who experience crime in Ireland. The aim is to provide comprehensive support and assistance to tourists and their families, improve their experience, advocate for their rights and restore their perception of the country and its people.
Over 17,000 tourists from 110 countries around the world have been assisted by the service since the operation began in 1994, with 9 out of 10 tourists on average continuing their holiday after ITAS intervention. Over 90% of the crimes perpetrated against tourists accessing support from the service are theft related.