Ireland looks a picture in new indirect tourism push

Tourism Ireland on a roll as country used as a backdrop

Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 01:01

The State bodies charged with promoting and developing Irish tourism have been busy raising their game of late. So much so that it seems you can barely open a magazine or turn on the television without seeing the country being used as a backdrop.

Tourism Ireland not only managed to persuade former International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield to promote the country for free while on a recent visit, but also convinced the US cable channel HBO to allow it to run a campaign promoting the North as the home of the Game of Thrones series .

Not to be outdone, Fáilte Ireland last week staged a coup after it got US sportswear firm Columbia to bring some of the world’s leading outdoor and adventure journalists to the country to sample a stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way, the 2,500km route from Kinsale, Co Cork, to Inishowen in Co Donegal.

The journalists taking part in the company’s 2014 press event, all of whom write for internationally-known publications such as Backpacker and Outsider, got to sample the delights of Donegal, with some even taking part in Gaelforce North adventure race. Photography and video footage taken by Columbia while here will be used to promote its 2015 clothing range globally.

As Fáilte Ireland’s director of marketing development John Concannon sees it, the trip will have lasting benefits. “It is extremely important for influential journalists such as these to experience first-hand what we have to offer and by providing them with a positive experience of their visit to Ireland, it is our hope that the coverage created will be a lasting legacy and encourage more visitors to consider Ireland in the future,” he said.

Other recent visitors invited by the State body include participants in Masterchef Italy, who were filming in Co Cork this week and contestants in the X-Factor shows in Italy and Australia.

Fáilte Ireland said it is in negotiations with a number of other organisations to try to persuade them to come to here and is expecting some of these to pay off.

What with photographer Boo George recently filming an ad campaign for Emporio Armani on Dollymount Strand and Annie Leibovitz showcasing the beauty of the Kerry landscape for a Vogue photoshoot, it seems as though Ireland will be in focus for the foreseeable future.