Massive Tourism Promotional Drive Under Way as World Spotlight on island of Ireland for St Patricks Week (NI)

13 Mar 2009

Tourism Ireland will be tapping into the tremendous interest and goodwill generated by the St Patrick’s celebrations next week, as the spotlight focuses on the island of Ireland around the world.  Over seventy million people claim links with the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland will be hosting a range of media, travel trade and consumer events, to capitalise on that global interest.  Northern Ireland’s First Minister and Deputy First Minister held a tourism briefing in Los Angeles yesterday which was attended by leading travel trade, media and Business Tourism contacts. 

In this very difficult year for inbound tourism, the industry from around the island of Ireland, as well as air and sea carriers and market-based tour operators, are responding to the challenges and have provided Tourism Ireland with close to 6,000 great value offers and deals to promote to consumers around the world. 

Tourism Ireland’s 2009 spring campaign is the most intensive and targeted ever mounted by the organisation.  As the global recession continues to bite on consumer confidence, affordability and great value for money dominates all advertising, consumer and trade promotional activities in overseas markets this year.

Paul O’Toole, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said:  “St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to showcase our wonderful tourism product to a huge audience across the globe, as people instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with the island of Ireland.  We are envied by tourism agencies around the world who would love to have such a well recognised occasion associated with their destination.  In this particularly difficult year, anything that gives us stand-out from our competitors is very welcome.

“It is absolutely essential that we convey the message that there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland.  We know that we are facing an extremely difficult and challenging environment for our tourism industry.  The recession has hit travel spending, as well as other forms of consumer spending and competition is fierce.  The tourism industry has responded quickly to the challenges with a huge range of good value offers which we are promoting aggressively in all our main markets.”

8M Americans see Northern Ireland on NBC’s TODAY SHOW
St Patrick’s broadcast
Eight million viewers of the top US morning TV programme, the Today Show, will tune in to Downpatrick and Northern Ireland over the St Patrick’s Holiday, courtesy of Tourism Ireland.  The coast to coast broadcast will include an interview with Dr Tim Campbell at the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick; it will also showcase iconic locations in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Online movies go live
The first in a series of online movies or “webisodes” will kick off on St Patrick’s Day – featuring Belfast and Connemara.  They will feature on Tourism Ireland’s international suite of 41 websites, and on social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook.  The ‘stars’ of all of movies are members of the general public who won an all island competition because of their infectious enthusiasm for their favourite part of the island of Ireland.

Ulster Scots Promotion in the Southern States
Tourism Ireland is targeting the Ulster Scots segment in the United States this year with a major direct marketing initiative, aimed at those with the top 20 Northern Ireland surnames.  The promotion kicks off this month, with an extensive mailing in the Southern states.

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day between China and Rio de Janeiro
The most remote ambassadors for the island of Ireland on St Patrick’s Day must surely be the crew of the Green Dragon boat in the Volvo Ocean Race who will have just rounded Cape Horn;  sailing somewhere in the South Atlantic, they have promised to “don the green” for a quick photo to celebrate the occasion.  The nine-month Volvo Ocean Race attracts huge publicity around the world and has provided Tourism Ireland with a superb opportunity to showcase the many attractions that the island of Ireland has to offer as a holiday destination. 


Further information:
Clair Balmer/ Elaine Moore, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 028 7035 9260   Mobile: 077 6652 7719



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