Tourism Ireland today announced a parade with a difference to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this year – a virtual or online parade on its international website, Ireland.com. The organisation kicks off its new global online campaign today, getting people everywhere thinking about the island of Ireland in the run-up to our national holiday on 17 March and organising the world’s longest parade – online.
Titled ‘The Fantastic St Patrick’s Parade’, this will certainly be different to a traditional parade and will include pirates, pixies, vampires and more! The idea behind the campaign, or online game, is to get prospective holidaymakers around the world thinking about Ireland and involved in the parade – by creating and personalising their very own virtual float. The game is on Tourism Ireland’s website, Ireland.com, and includes a range of specially-designed tools to get the creative juices flowing and help people come up with their own unique designs. They can mix and match various characters and activities to come up with their own funny and bizarre floats – there could be dancing with Dracula or swashbuckling with pirates!
Promoting the campaign on Facebook to its 2+ million Facebook fans around the world, through Twitter (about 110,000 followers) and online advertising on key travel and lifestyle websites, Tourism Ireland is calling on people to get busy on their float design and then share the end result with their friends and family on Facebook, helping to build the longest-possible online parade in time for 17 March. The goal for people playing the game is to get as many ‘likes’ as possible for their float, to be in with a chance to win a trip to Ireland this year. People will be able to log on (ireland.com/joinourparade) and watch the animated parade online, which will also feature a number of global iconic landmarks taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative this year.
As part of its overall marketing strategy, Tourism Ireland is using e-marketing and social media in a host of creative ways to inspire potential holidaymakers to come and visit the island of Ireland. People across the world instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with Ireland and Tourism Ireland believes that its online ‘Fantastic St Patrick’s Parade’ is the perfect platform to tap into the interest and goodwill generated by St Patrick’s celebrations everywhere.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said: “Once again this year, our Global Greening is getting social! We are delighted to announce our virtual St Patrick’s Day parade – a fun and innovative way to get people talking about the island of Ireland. This campaign is just one element of Tourism Ireland’s plans to promote the destination around St Patrick’s Day – our on- and off-line campaigns are working seamlessly together, to ensure that there is saturation coverage of Ireland across print, broadcast and online channels around the world.”
This online initiative is part of Tourism Ireland’s extensive programme of consumer, media and trade promotions under way across the world this spring. In total, Tourism Ireland will spend €23.5/£20.2 million promoting the island of Ireland around the globe in the first half of 2014.
Last month, Tourism Ireland announced details of some of the famous attractions and sites around the world which will go green this year to mark St Patrick’s Day. The organisation has lined up a fairytale ending for St Patrick’s Day this year, with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland® Paris, the Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra in Jordan all set to go green for the first time ever on 17 March, joining a host of other major landmarks and iconic sites around the world in Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative.
International journalists – representing top media outlets from around the globe – will visit Ireland, taking in the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade during their time here. And Tourism Ireland will also exploit the profile of St Patrick’s Day with media worldwide – sending images, video footage and news about Ireland to news desks around the world, as well as to its database of 20,000+ influential travel and lifestyle media contacts.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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.
• In 2013, an estimated 8 million overseas visitors visited the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.