Thursday, 16th August
The visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to Ireland, on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families later this month, is good news for Irish tourism. It presents a unique opportunity to showcase Ireland abroad and to convince potential holidaymakers everywhere to visit Ireland. A large media contingent will travel here to cover the visit, bringing the story to millions of people around the world. Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of the visit and some of their promotional activity around the visit will include:
- hosting a journalist and photographer from Famiglia Cristiana – an Italian Catholic lifestyle magazine with a readership of almost 250,000 people – in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland. They have just completed an advance fact-finding visit to Dublin and Mayo, to explore Ireland’s Christian heritage and some of the many things to see and do here;
- a digital and social media campaign in Italy – targeting influential journalists in advance of the visit; activity will include working with the Irish Embassy in Rome, sharing images and information with the members of VAMP (Vatican-accredited media personnel – the journalists who travel with Pope Francis);
- distribution of film footage and images of Ireland (including images of the various locations Pope Francis will visit) to influential lifestyle and news journalists in other countries around the world;
- digital and social media activity in Italy will also target people attending the World Meeting of Families conference, to encourage them to extend their stay in Ireland; and social media activity in relevant markets, highlighting some of the locations on the pope’s itinerary, as well as themes like Christian heritage and family holidays in Ireland.
Fáilte Ireland has been assisting with the preparations to host the 500 plus international media who are expected to attend by contributing to the branding of the press and media centres which will be available. This branding includes photographs to decorate the media centres and which will promote iconic Irish sites such as Trinity College, Glendalough, Giants Causeway, Skellig Michael, Croagh Patrick, the Hill of Tara and the Rock of Cashel. With regard to the Knock stage of the Pope’s visit, Wild Atlantic Way branding is being used at the Ireland West Airport, Knock. The tourism body will be providing a tourism desk at the Main Press Centre in Dublin Castle to provide travel and activity information for visiting media.
Fáilte Ireland will also be providing a tourist information desk at the World Meeting of Families. Tourist information will be provided regarding visitor attractions both in the city and also day excursions to places such as Glendalough, Newgrange, and, for those that might be extending their stay, activities within Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and the Wild Atlantic Way. Approximately 37,000 people have booked tickets for the RDS event including 15,000 international delegates from 116 countries. These international delegates alone are expected to generate a €3-4m economic impact during their stay.
Commenting on the potential for a positive impact on Tourism on foot of the Pope’s visit, the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross T.D., commented: “While I fully appreciate that tourism is not the purpose of Pope Francis’ visit, the resultant media coverage of his visits to Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin Castle, Knock, St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral and Croke Park will provide us with an opportunity to showcase some of our magnificent scenery and tourist attractions to millions of people around the world. Following on from the tourism exposure generated by the recent visits of Prince Charles and Camilla and of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Pope’s visit will provide another opportunity to put Ireland centre stage in world news bulletins. Tourism is our largest indigenous industry and supports over 240,000 jobs in communities across the country. The number of overseas visitors coming to Ireland continues to grow year on year and the worldwide media exposure generated from events like the Pope Frances’ visit will help us in growing those numbers even further.”