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07 Apr 2017

Ireland ranked No 3 in the world for tourism marketing and branding

The World Economic Forum has announced the results of its global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017.  The biennial report ranks Ireland at number three in the world, out of 136 countries, for ‘effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists’.

Ireland has moved from number five in the world, when the index was last compiled in 2015, to number three – ahead of countries including Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and France.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am really pleased to see that Ireland has moved up to third position in the world for tourism marketing and branding, out of 136 countries. The international tourism marketplace is an extremely competitive one and we are constantly looking at innovative and engaging ways to reach potential holidaymakers, to ensure the island of Ireland stands out from other destinations.”

Tourism Ireland has developed a significant digital footprint in recent years – particularly in social media. The organisation has almost 3.9 million active fans on Facebook and is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on the popular social networking site; it’s the number four tourism board in the world on Twitter, with almost 400,000 followers; and is number three on YouTube, with over 31 million views.

The organisation’s annual publicity programme creates thousands of opportunities for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about the island of Ireland; in 2016, this positive exposure was worth an estimated €385 million in equivalent advertising value. And Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day continues to grow – with almost 300 iconic sites and landmarks taking part this year, including the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sacré-Cœur basilica in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. 

Tourism Ireland has also continued to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones, with award-winning campaigns to bring holidays on the island of Ireland to the attention of fans and new audiences across the globe.

Niall Gibbons continued: “2016 was a record year for overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, surpassing all previous tourism performance. Right now, Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotions in key markets around the world to keep that momentum going, highlighting our unique and distinctive holiday experience, how easy it is to get here by air or sea and showcasing great value offers from the tourism industry.”         

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.