TOURISM Ireland’s marketing drive in the United States was stepped up considerably this week as Ireland welcomed President Barack Obama.
Hundreds of international journalists were accredited as part of the visit, which included a trip to Moneygall, is expected to generate huge positive publicity in the US.
Millions of Americans received positive messages about the island of Ireland in the last week. Tourism Ireland is focused on leveraging the visit to persuade potential visitors from the US, our second largest tourism market, to visit the island of Ireland.
The marketing strategy used by Tourism Ireland in the US differs from the approach taken in Britain to capitalise on the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, where the focus was on cultural, literary, equestrian, gastronomic and sporting themes. To celebrate President Obama’s Irish ancestry, genealogy has been selected as a key theme of the marketing push in the United States.
Highlights of the activity include interviews with other Ireland-based genealogists and historians, a‘hero spot’ on discoverireland.com, a competition on Tourism Ireland’s US Facebook page which has over 120,000 US fans, Tourism Ireland’s presidential factsheet, and online ads targeting the Irish diaspora on key websites.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This has been an excellent month for Irish tourism with the announcement by the Government of a package of measures to stimulate the tourism sector and now culminating in the second of our two historic visits with President Obama’s arrival on Monday. The United States is a tremendously important market for us, second only to Britain in terms of delivering visitor numbers. Our focus is on maximising the potential of this unique occasion and on promoting Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination to the millions of Americans who will come into contact with Ireland in the coming days and weeks.”
North America is the second-largest market for tourists to Ireland, delivering around 900,000 visitors who spend over €600 million each year. Tourism Ireland statistics towards the end of 2010 showed evidence of a potential return to growth in visitor numbers from the US this year.
See this week’s Offaly Express for extensive coverage of President Obama’s visit to Offaly.