The famous Canadian astronaut who put Ireland on the map with the first-ever tweet from space ‘as Gaeilge’ last year arrives in Ireland today. Tourism Ireland is hoping that he will help put Ireland ‘on the map’ again – this time as a top destination for holidays in 2014 and beyond. The organisation has enlisted his help to showcase some of our top visitor attractions and experiences over the coming five days.
Former International Space Station commander Colonel Chris Hadfield has a number of engagements in Dublin, including the Laya Healthcare Pendulum Summit and the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. From tomorrow (10 January), he and his wife Helene will spend several days as ‘tourists’ – visiting places like Croke Park and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. In Northern Ireland, he will visit Armagh, Cushendall and the Glens of Antrim, as well as Titanic Belfast. His itinerary also includes Donegal (where he will learn ‘cúpla focal’ from some local schoolchildren) and the spectacular Inishowen Peninsula, the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Tourism Ireland will create three short films of Hadfield’s five-day visit – featuring different themes like Gaelic games, our spectacular scenery and major visitor attractions. These films will then be shared by Tourism Ireland with its Facebook fans (almost 2 million) and Twitter followers (109,000+) around the world, shining a spotlight on some of the many great things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland; the films will also be shared with influential international travel and lifestyle media, through an extensive publicity and PR campaign. During his time here, Chris Hadfield will also be tweeting about what he sees and experiences – inspiring his more than one million followers to begin planning their own holiday to Ireland this year.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, said: “Having seen Ireland from space, it’s great to be able to give Chris Hadfield a closer look at what Ireland has to offer on the ground. His enthusiasm and energy make him a great ambassador for Irish tourism, and should help to persuade many more to come and see Ireland close-up in 2014. I’m really delighted he has agreed to help us out.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Chris Hadfield to Ireland. I would like to personally thank him for his tremendous generosity in agreeing to help us promote the island of Ireland around the world. Of course, he already began promoting Ireland last year, with the dramatic photos he tweeted from the International Space Station to his huge Twitter fanbase. Chris is an enormously popular, global figure and I am confident that our films of his visit to Ireland will be seen and shared by millions of potential holidaymakers around the world – inspiring them to come and sample the destination for themselves.”
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.
- By the end of 2014, we will have welcomed an estimated 8.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.26 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.