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30 Jul 2015

Tourism Ireland reaches 3 million Facebook fans

Social media marketing is vital element of Tourism Ireland’s global promotional programme

Tourism Ireland now fourth biggest tourism board in the world on Facebook

Tourism Ireland has reached three million fans on Facebook around the world, making it the fourth most popular tourism board on the popular social networking site – after Australia, the United States and Britain.

Social media marketing is a hugely important element of Tourism Ireland’s global promotional programme to highlight the island of Ireland. And the organisation’s ‘social footprint’ is considerable, with more than 50 social media presences in total – including Facebook pages in 15 markets, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube, as well as Sina Weibo and WeChat in China. Tourism Ireland has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter at the last count, making it the number two tourism agency in the world, after Britain; it is also second among tourist boards (after Australia) on YouTube, with more than 21 million views.

Reaching three million fans on Facebook is significant for a number of reasons. Each fan has an average of 200 friends – so Tourism Ireland is just one click away from having its messages and photos shared each week with a potential 600 million friend connections worldwide. Tourism Ireland estimates that the value of the conversations about holidays in Ireland generated by its three million Facebook fans – will be worth about €15/£10.5 million this year (i.e. what those conversations, if paid for as advertising, would cost).

Commenting on the three million milestone, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Social media, including Facebook, provides a really valuable platform for promoting the island of Ireland, giving us access to a global audience of millions of potential holidaymakers. However, it’s not just about the numbers – it is also the quality of the conversation we can have with our fans and how we engage with them about Ireland. We know that activity on our Facebook pages is driving traffic to our website – Ireland.com – and, most importantly, to our industry partner websites, where they can make those bookings and ‘close the sale’.”  

Tourism Ireland has grown its Facebook fanbase from a couple of thousand at the beginning of 2010 to the grand total of over three million fans today, across 15 markets – including Great Britain, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the Gulf Countries (English and Arabic versions). The organisation also has Facebook pages for specific topics, including Ireland’s Family History and Titanic Stories. Fan numbers continue to grow across all markets.

As part of its overall strategy, Tourism Ireland uses social media to inspire people everywhere to come and visit the island of Ireland. The growth to three million fans comes on the back of a major push by Tourism Ireland across its main markets, to engage digitally with prospective visitors. Brian Harte, Tourism Ireland’s head of Customer Engagement and eMarketing, said: “Tourism Ireland is very much committed to social media marketing and we are working hard to really maximise its impact, to grow the online tourism conversation about the island of Ireland around the globe, inspiring prospective holidaymakers to come and visit. Our aim is not just to simply grow our fanbase on Facebook – but to deepen the level of engagement with those fans through our messaging.”
* Tourism Ireland’s system of SEAV, or Social Equivalent Advertising Value, quantifies the value of its engagement with fans.


Brian Harte, Tourism Ireland’s head of customer engagement and eMarketing; Sarah Fitzpatrick, Tourism Ireland’s editor of Ireland.com; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director.

 

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 2014, we welcomed an estimated 8.4 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.1 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.Ireland.com, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, Ireland.com attracted about 14.25 million visitors.