Spanish football team Villarreal were in Ireland recently, for some pre-season training at Carton House and Tourism Ireland in Spain took the opportunity to use the team’s visit to highlight the island of Ireland as a great destination for Spanish holidaymakers, as well as a top location for sporting events.
Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity around the visit included a number of online promotions. An eNewsletter was sent to over 500,000 contacts across Spain and ‘new’ media including social networking website Facebook was also used, targeting Tourism Ireland’s 15,000 ‘fans’ in Spain.
During their time in Ireland, the team and visiting Spanish media got to be ‘tourists’ when Tourism Ireland arranged for them to visit the Guinness Storehouse, where they enjoyed a VIP tour and learned how to pour the perfect pint! Because St James’s Gate – home of the Guinness Storehouse – is one of the stages of the famous Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) and the only place in Ireland where pilgrims can get their credentials signed, the team members also got their pilgrim passport stamped during their time there.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Europe, said: “We are delighted that the Villarreal team has chosen Ireland for its pre-season training. It is certainly a coup for Ireland that the club came here. We have a very busy promotional programme in place in Spain this year, including a number of initiatives to capitalise on the wonderful exposure offered by this visit.
“Spain is an important market for tourism to the island of Ireland, last year delivering 264,000 visitors and the visit of Villarreal is a great ‘hook’ for us to deliver the message that there has never been a better time for Spaniards to visit the island of Ireland. And of course, in a difficult and extremely competitive year for tourism, anything that gives us ‘stand out’ is extremely welcome”.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Europe and Corinne Lincoln, Dublin Tourism (centre) with Villarreal team members during their recent visit to the Guinness Storehouse where they got their Camino de Santiago pilgrim passports stamped.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 7.5 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2009, delivering revenue of €3.5 billion.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 41 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2009 discoverireland.com attracted a record 13+ million unique visitors, a +34% increase in visits on 2008.