Tourism Ireland is looking to capitalise on President Michael D Higgins’ famed state visit to Britain this week. The first such visit by an Irish head of state to Britain is receiving widespread coverage in media both here and abroad, and the tourism body is hoping the added exposure will have a positive impact on tourism figures in Ireland.
Britain is the largest single market for tourism to the island of Ireland; last year, we welcomed almost 3.8 million British visitors, who contributed some €1.2 billion in revenue to the economies North and South.
“Tourism Ireland in Britain is taking every opportunity to leverage the tourism potential of this week’s historic State Visit by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina,” clams the state body. “An extensive programme of activity includes advertising, publicity and public relations, business tourism promotions, e-marketing and social media.”
Those activities include TV adverts, significant presence at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce tomorrow, a publicity campaign and a specific focus on sponsoring a special concert, ‘Ceiliúradh’, aimed at promoting Irish musicians, singers, actors poets and authors in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Tourism Ireland is placing a major focus on Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, the Wild Atlantic Way, stretching all the way from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork. The organisation is also highlighting the Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the famous Giro d’Italia cycle race, which will bring more than 200 of the world’s top professional cyclists to Belfast, Armagh and Dublin, in May.
Other events being highlighted by Tourism Ireland include Limerick City of Culture and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State, bringing all the ‘razzmatazz’ of their college football season opener to Dublin.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The first-ever state visit by President Michael D Higgins to Britain is wonderful news for everyone and particularly for those of us in the tourism industry. The visit is an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on Ireland to a huge audience of potential holidaymakers in GB, and indeed elsewhere around the world, and has the potential to deliver a boost to Irish tourism in 2014 and beyond."