Publicity bonanza as VIP visits prove big hit on web
THE visits of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth generated the type of publicity money couldn't buy, Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said yesterday.
The early departure of Mr Obama to escape a looming ash cloud had done nothing to overshadow the positive impact of the visit, which has generated coverage in countries as far away as New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia, he said.
Coverage on major networks such as NBC and ABC in the US had focused on the Moneygall visit and views on his speech in Dublin had been overwhelmingly positive, he said.
The impact of the queen's visit is already being seen by Irish tourism websites.
Visits to Tourism Ireland's British website last week were up 40pc on a normal week, second only to St Patrick's Day for generating interest, he said.
The Rock of Cashel had seen visitor numbers soar by 40pc since it was announced some weeks ago that the queen would visit it.
A media website set up to assist international journalists seeking information about the visits of the two heads of state has also attracted 49,000 visits, Mr Gibbons said.
"After 12 months of very negative headlines about Ireland, we have finally been enjoying very positive headlines," he added.