Irish tourism named one of world's best self-promoters

The high prices here are hurting our competitiveness, however...

Ireland's ability to attract tourism is ranked among the very best in the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

Its biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index sees Ireland ranked third on a list of 136 countries when it comes to "effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists".

The 6.2 out of 7 rating meant it moved up from the fifth position it held when the index was last compiled in 2015, and placed the nation ahead of the likes of Spain, France, Australia, the US and UK in the category.

The United Arab Emirates came out on top, with New Zealand taking second place.

It wasn't positive news overall, however, as Ireland dropped four positions on the main Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, to 23rd. 

While our "international openness" and "business environment" helped our ranking, our price competitiveness is among the very worse, ranked 121th in the world.

Brand Ireland's bright performance

Tourism Ireland attributed the marketing result to an improving digital footprint, St Patrick's Day activity and the filming of big budget film and TV productions on the island.

The board now has almost 3.9 million active fans on Facebook and is the fourth most popular tourism agency in the world on the social network. It is also fourth on Twitter with nearly 400,000 followers and third on YouTube with over 31 million views.

The positive exposure from its annual publicity programme was worth an estimated €385 million in equivalent advertising value last year, while Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day continues to grow with almost 300 iconic sites and landmarks taking part this year, including the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sacré-Cœur basilica in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Tourism Ireland has also continued to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones, with award-winning campaigns to bring holidays on the island of Ireland to the attention of fans and new audiences across the globe.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said:

“I am really pleased to see that Ireland has moved up to third position in the world for tourism marketing and branding, out of 136 countries. The international tourism marketplace is an extremely competitive one and we are constantly looking at innovative and engaging ways to reach potential holidaymakers, to ensure the island of Ireland to stands out from other destinations.”

 “2016 was a record year for overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, surpassing all previous tourism performance. Right now, Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotions in key markets around the world to keep that momentum going, highlighting our unique and distinctive holiday experience, how easy it is to get here by air or sea and showcasing great value offers from the tourism industry.”