Tourism Ireland has announced details of its marketing plans to promote Ireland around the world as a holiday destination in 2016 at an event attended by Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and tourism industry leaders from around the country.
They are hoping the new Star Wars movie filmed here last summer will turn into a major attraction for international visitors.
‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ spent several days recording scenes on Skellig Micheal off the coast of Kerry.
The movie is due to open here before Christmas and the trailer has already clocked up more than 130 million views.
Tourism Ireland’s CEO Niall Gibbons says he is happy Ireland will be linked to the Star Wars brand.
“It’s the most anticipated film in history, as we know some of it has been filmed on Skellig Micheal, but the opportunity to associate the Ireland brand with the Star Wars brand is something that is going to be good for all of us.”
“We’ve seen previous successes with the HBO and Game of Thrones, particularly in Northern Ireland where we achieved over €30m of advertising value from a very small investment.
“So we are particularly excited to be associated with one of the biggest brands from a film perspective.”
Tourism Ireland says it also aims to surpass this year’s record tourist numbers and bring in 8.2m visitors next year which would represent an increase of 4% on 2015 and would deliver up to €4.4bn to the economy.
Figures from the CSO show that the number of visitors from Britain has grown by 20% since 2010, while the numbers from north America (51%), mainland Europe (38%), and Australia (66%) have also shown significant increases.
Tourism Ireland said the key factors in Ireland’s ability to sustain visitor number growth include new flights here, stronger economies in our key source markets, the Ireland ‘brand’ remaining strong, and favourable exchange rates for sterling and the dollar.