Travel writers from seven countries – including Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, China and Austria – were in Derry~Londonderry at the weekend for the spectacular Return of Colmcille pageant.
The journalists – invited here by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – joined the thousands of spectators who thronged the city to witness the story of Colmcille brought to life. Over the weekend, the group also visited the ‘The Shirt Factory’ exhibition in the Void gallery, where a ‘pop-up’ museum showcased the city’s proud heritage as the one-time shirt-making capital of the world.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome this group of journalists to Londonderry and Northern Ireland. The Return of Colmcille was a wonderful ‘hook’ to showcase the UK City of Culture – it will be highlighted to millions of potential visitors across the world, through the articles these journalists will produce when they return home. Media visits like this are an important part of our busy publicity programme, helping to raise the profile of Northern Ireland and ultimately helping us achieve our goal of increasing visitor numbers from overseas. The City of Culture is a major part of Tourism Ireland’s promotions and publicity drive around the world in 2013 and we look forward to highlighting lots of other major events still to come this year, including the Fleadh Cheoil, the Walled City Tattoo and the Turner Prize.”
Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight Londonderry and the City of Culture in advance of the Return of Colmcille pageant included a specially-created page on the organisation’s website, Ireland.com – which featured the “Monster in Lough Foyle” viral film (viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube); a quirky poster ad targeting holidaymakers in Inverness; and a busy programme of social media activity on the GB Facebook page and Twitter feed.
During their time in Derry~Londonderry, the journalists enjoyed every ‘chapter’ of the Colmcille story and also attended the Columba Canticles, a new oratorio specially commissioned for the event, which was performed in St Columb’s Catherdral. They also took a trip along the Causeway Coastal route, stopping off at the Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Dunluce Castle.
International journalists from GB, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, China and Austria visited ‘The Shirt Factory’ exhibition in the Void gallery; they are pictured with Anne Zemmour, Tourism Ireland (standing, fifth right); Aileen O’Neill, NITB (standing front, second left); Maoliosa Boyle, the Void (standing front, third left); and tour guide Ken McElroy (far right).
Further media information:
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 07766 527719
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4.9% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
• In 2011, 1.5 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of £368 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is ireland.com, which is rolling out in 11 different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.