As the British Open golf championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich gets under way this week, Tourism Ireland is rolling out a ‘Major’ golf tourism campaign, worth €2.2 million, to capitalise on Rory McIlroy’s historic US Open victory at Congressional.
The campaign is designed to capitalise on the huge international media interest in Rory’s success. According to data prepared for Tourism Ireland by O’Leary Analytics, around 34,000 articles appeared in more than 100 countries in the nine days after the US Open. 18,000 articles appeared in the US alone, reaching millions of Americans.
Tourism Ireland is stepping up its promotional programme to maximise the benefits for Ireland from this fantastic achievement. Activity includes the following highlights:
• ‘Home of Champions’ is the headline for the new ad campaigns in Britain and the US this summer. In the US, the ads are appearing on TV (on the popular Golf Channel) and online (on GolfChannel.com and elsewhere) and will be seen over 200 times around coverage of the British Open and the Solheim Cup and popular American programmes like ‘Big Break Ireland’, ‘Feherty Show’, ‘Morning Drive’ and ‘Golf Now Ireland’.
• 365,000 Americans are also seeing Ireland golf ads and features in Golfweek and Golf World magazines and in the Irish Echo and Irish Voice newspapers.
• In Britain, new ‘Home of Champions’ ads will run on radio (talkSPORT), online and in key golf, business and financial publications throughout the summer months, driving potential British golf holidaymakers to the golf offers section of the discoverireland.com website.
• A further 250,000 golf enthusiasts worldwide are hearing about the Irish Open in Killarney later this month – through the media, travel trade and social media – with a competition to win a trip to see Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell in action there.
• Influential golf and lifestyle journalists from around the world are being invited to come and sample our world-class golf product for themselves. News releases have issued to media contacts across the US and other markets and the magic footage of Rory’s victory will be included in future golf TV programmes planned by Tourism Ireland, in the US and elsewhere.
• A co-operative campaign with bmi this summer – which allows British golfers to carry their clubs for free on all bmi flights from London Heathrow to Dublin – is being highlighted by Tourism Ireland through advertising and with leading GB golf tour operators.
• Social media is also helping to spread the word in our golf markets, with posts celebrating McIlroy’s success on Tourism Ireland’s US Facebook page (in excess of 128,000 fans) generating almost 600 ‘likes’ and lots of positive comments in the 24-hour period after his win.
• Rory’s victory and a strong golf message features on Tourism Ireland’s suite of websites discoverireland.com which attract up to 12 million unique visitors a year. Tourism Ireland has also sent e-newsletters to its global database of golf fans with special offers and golf packages from the industry here.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar, said: “Rory McIlroy became a global sports star following his spectacular victory in the US Open. Ireland also cemented its reputation as the home of great golfers, and great golf courses. This golf tourism campaign is the ideal way to build on that success in the run-up to the Irish Open. We can promote our fantastic golfing talent and boost our tourism industry in the process.”
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland chief executive, said: “Rory McIlroy’s victory at the US Open has placed golf in Ireland in the global spotlight and represents a huge opportunity. Tourism Ireland is focused on growing the number of golf tourists to Ireland in 2011 and beyond, and building on the really positive momentum around Ireland as a holiday destination already generated by the historic visits of Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama in May.
“Golf is the world’s largest sports-related travel market and Tourism Ireland is working hard to drive home the message that a golfing holiday in Ireland is about much more than a round of 18 holes – the combination of Ireland’s world-class golf product and our unique brand of hospitality plays a key role in attracting golfers to come here. Rory is a superb ambassador for the game and for the island of Ireland. We look forward to seeing him in action at the Irish Open in Killarney this summer!”
Tourism Ireland’s new golf campaign is building on an already busy schedule of year-round promotions, designed to boost golf visitors from overseas. Year-round golf promotions include the following:
• The Solheim Cup, which takes place 23rd – 25th September at Killeen Castle in Co Meath, features extensively in Tourism Ireland’s media, travel trade and consumer promotions around the world and the organisation is working closely with women’s golf associations in many key markets.
• Across the world, Tourism Ireland and golf tourism partners are promoting prominently at all the major golfing events. In Britain, events include the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Golf Live in London, the Ricoh British Women’s Open at Carnoustie and The Open at Royal St George’s. In the US, golf promotions include the Masters in Augusta, the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando (where last year’s US Open winner Graeme McDowell dropped by the stand), the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California, the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey and the upcoming PGA Barclays tournament.
• Tourism Ireland is also working closely with specialist golf tour operators such as golfbreaks.com and Your Golf Travel and with the English Women’s Golf Association.
• 83 million households across the US are set to see the best of Irish golf when the American TV series Big Break airs on the Golf Channel later this year. This very positive exposure, which will be valued at over $12 million in media exposure, is thanks to Tourism Ireland’s advertising partnership with the Golf Channel, GolfChannel.com and NBC Sports.
• In Germany, Tourism Ireland is partnering with the German PGA; promotions include a presence at the recent Ladies German Open, advertising on top golf websites like golf.de and co-operative marketing with key golf tour operators.
• In Sweden, where there are about 650,000 registered golfers, events include the Nordea Masters which takes place 21st – 24th July in Stockholm. Tourism Ireland is also working with the Swedish Ladies’ Golf Association, the Swedish PGA and with accredited Swedish golf tour operators to bring golfers here for the Solheim Cup and to experience the island’s great golf.
Golf ad in the current editions of Golfweek and Golf World magazines, in the US
For further media information, please contact:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087 685 9027