Tourism to get a boost from queen's speech
Published 19/12/2011 | 05:00
THE tourist industry is poised for a major boost from an unlikely source -- Queen Elizabeth's Christmas speech.
The queen's annual address will include her first public reflections of her successful state visit to Ireland and will include footage of a number of the sites and landmarks included in her four-day trip.
The broadcast, being produced by Sky News for the first time, is expected to reach huge audiences -- possibly approaching the record 27 million who tuned in to the 1987 speech. This is because there has been an upswing in interest in the monarchy across the globe over the past year.
Sky producers, who are understood to be bringing in a populist touch to the often austere Christmas message, have a wealth of upbeat material to choose from including two royal weddings and Prince Philip's 90th birthday.
But the queen, who takes a central role in deciding the content of her message, will use the opportunity to reflect on the warm reception she received here on a gruelling schedule which included visits to Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork.
That means tourist sites, such as The Rock Of Cashel in Tipperary and Cork's English market, which have already received a lift in numbers, can expect another welcome boost when footage of the royal visit is again screened to millions.
A palace spokeswoman said the content of the pre-recorded speech is being kept under wraps until a short trailer is aired on Christmas Eve. But another well-placed palace source said viewers could expect the most upbeat speech in decades, in which she will fondly look back at her visit here.
"It's been the best year in living memory for the royal family, with two royal weddings, Prince Philip's 90th birthday and not least, the historic visit to Ireland.
"It's no secret that the visit to Ireland meant a huge deal to her and she wants to use the speech to reflect on it publicly. She has so many fond memories of the year and has a wealth of stuff to choose from, but all I can say at this stage is that Ireland will feature centrally in the speech," she said.
In a letter to the lord mayor of Cork, she described her visit to the city, where she broke with royal protocol and shook hands with the public after receiving an unexpectedly rousing reception, as "deeply moving".
The address to the Commonwealth, as it is properly known, began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by George V on the BBC Empire Service. It moved to TV in 1957.