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16 Oct 2013

Ireland has the X Factor in Italy

2+ million Italians to see Ireland on reality TV show X Factor Italia, when judge Mika brings contestants here for ‘home visit’

Ireland will have the ‘X Factor’ in Italy this week when it steals the show in Italy’s version of X Factor. During the summer, one of the show’s judges, British singer-songwriter Mika, brought his group of singing hopefuls to Slane Castle for the ‘home visits’ round of the popular reality TV show. X Factor Italia’s Irish experience broadcasts on Thursday evening (17 October) to an anticipated 2+ million viewers across Italy – and the publicity will be worth an estimated €3.75 million for Irish tourism.

Tourism Ireland in Italy secured the popular show for Ireland, supported by an excellent programme designed by Fáilte Ireland. With its very established rock credentials, Slane Castle was an obvious choice for mentor Mika to bring his remaining six acts in the ‘under 25s girls’ category. Mika, who rose to fame with his single Grace Kelly in 2007, is the first international mentor on the Italian version of the show. 

As well as Slane Castle, the 25-minute Ireland ‘home visit’ section of the programme will also feature lots of landmarks around Dublin – including Trinity College, Temple Bar, Merrion Square, St Patrick’s Cathedral and, of course, Windmill Lane. Italian viewers will also see Mika retreating to Malahide beach, to temporarily escape the stress of his arduous task of choosing the three best contestants! 

The Italian audience is waiting with huge anticipation to find out on Thursday who will make it through to the next stage of the competition. The programme will air on Sky Uno and will then be repeated on a free-to-view digital channel called Cielo – so, the estimated value of the Irish episode (if Tourism Ireland were to buy that airtime) is €3.75 million. Already, the first two episodes of this season’s X Factor Italia have each attracted over 2 million viewers across Italy. It is also set to stimulate lots of online conversation about Ireland – and Tourism Ireland will maximise that online engagement with potential Italian holidaymakers on its website,, and on Facebook (the organisation has over 95,000 Facebook fans in Italy alone).

Speaking about the programme which will air on Thursday of this week, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Tourism Ireland to promote Ireland as a fashionable and ‘happening’ destination to one of our key target audiences – young, affluent adults who live in northern and central Italy. With an estimated publicity value of €3.75 million, the programme filmed here is truly an excellent showcase for Ireland and a wonderful opportunity to bring the destination to the attention of millions of potential Italian holidaymakers. Ireland’s starring role in X Factor Italia allows us to demonstrate that Ireland offers a mix of buzzing, lively nightlife as well as quiet beaches and relaxing spots. Our aim is to capitalise on the already high levels of interest in Ireland and convert that interest to actual travel. We will inspire potential visitors, positioning Ireland as a “hot” destination by highlighting vibrant experiences in both urban and rural settings which have the power to resonate most strongly with Italians.”

Alex Connolly, head of communications with Fáilte Ireland, added: “We are looking forward to wishing a big ‘buon giorno’ to all the Italian viewers who will be tuning in. With our culture, castles and countryside, we will be hoping that those watching will also see that Ireland has the ‘X Factor’ when it comes to holiday destinations and that they vote with their feet when planning where to visit next year.”

2012 saw a good return to growth in Italian visitors to the island of Ireland, with visitor numbers increasing by +17% to 252,000. Interest in visiting the island of Ireland remains strong in Italy, with Italians consistently ranking Ireland in their ‘top ten’ destinations to visit (6th place in 2013 – after Spain, the United States, France, Greece and Portugal). Tourism Ireland aims to grow the number of Italian visitors to the island of Ireland to 300,000 by 2015 – a +20% increase on 2012 visitor numbers.