Five couples from the United States were in the audience at Van Morrison’s concert over the weekend, which marked the opening of this year’s Belfast Festival at Queens. The lucky visitors were the prize-winners of a Tourism Ireland radio competition – which has been running on stations in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco – offering listeners the chance to win a weekend in Belfast and tickets for Van’s concert in the Europa Hotel.
This autumn, Tourism Ireland teamed up with Van Morrison and EMI to showcase the fantastic music and arts scene of Belfast and Northern Ireland and to highlight this year’s Belfast Festival at Queens to potential holidaymakers around the world. As well as in the all-important US market, promotions have been running in Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Spain.
The message from Tourism Ireland is that “Belfast is Rocking”, that it is one of Europe’s coolest and most vibrant cities with a really dynamic music scene and a fascinating history steeped in music. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Van Morrison is a tremendous ambassador for the music scene in Belfast and his performances during this year’s Belfast Festival at Queen’s mark yet another high point in this year of major events for Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland was delighted to work with Van’s record label to showcase the musical heritage of Belfast, reaching a huge audience of music fans and potential holidaymakers not only in the US but in key tourism markets in GB and Mainland Europe.”
Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity has also included extensive social media promotions on Facebook and Twitter, targeting Tourism Ireland’s 730,000 fans and followers in those countries. A specially-created page on Tourism Ireland’s websites has also been highlighting Belfast and Northern Ireland, encouraging music lovers to visit, with plenty of suggestions and ideas for things to do and see in Belfast and around Northern Ireland.