Two of Ireland’s key tourism markets, Britain and the US, will be targeted by a series of promotional campaigns this month to capitalize on the visits of Queen Elizabeth and president Barack Obama.
The visits of the Queen and Mr Obama should generate up to €150 million worth of positive publicity worldwide, Tourism Ireland said.
The body, which promotes Ireland as a holiday destination abroad, has planned television, radio and online campaigns in Britain next week highlighting some of the main locations featured in the queen’s itinerary.
A tourism supplement about Ireland will appear with British newspaper the Times on the last Saturday in May and broadcaster and journalist Mary Kenny, who is based in England, has also been promoting Ireland through radio interviews.
In the US, 2,000 broadcast and online media outlets will be issued with information on Mr Obama’s visit. This will include a video interview with genealogist Fiona Fitzsimmon, who researched Mr Obama’s heritage in Moneygall, as well as interviews with other genealogists and historians.
Tourism Ireland will also attempt to target the Irish diaspora, running ads on websites such as IrishCentral.com and in Irish-related publications such as the Irish Echo and Irish America. New York freesheet AM New York will feature a four-page cover wrap to coincide with the president’s visit.
Footage of the locations on both itineraries is also being distributed to media in Britain and throughout the US.
Members of the media have been invited to visit the locations before and after the state visits. A series of itineraries has been developed with themes such as Unesco City of Literature and most-visited attractions.
As many as 1,000 journalists from Britain, the US and elsewhere are expected to come to Ireland to cover the visits.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said Ireland would be beamed into the homes of millions of potential visitors around the world.
“We are working flat out to exploit this unique opportunity to highlight Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination, not only in Great Britain and the US but in other markets around the world,” he said.
More than half of all overseas visitors to Ireland come from Britain. About 900,000 visitors a year come from the US, Ireland’s second-largest tourist market.
Shaun Quinn, chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, which supports tourism service-providers in Ireland, said the visits offered an opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the heads of state.
“These events are so important right now, as we strive to rebuild our image abroad and reach out to potential visitors from two of our key markets, the UK and North America,” he said.
The visits coincided with “the first early signs that tourism into Ireland is finally beginning to recover”, he said.