Tourism Ireland reaches a million Facebook fans
TOURISM chiefs are celebrating after they reached the "magic million" Facebook fans.
Tourism Ireland said it is now just one click away from having its message shared with 200 million people around the world.
The body is now the third most popular tourism board on the social networking site after Australia and Spain.
It has grown its Facebook fanbase from just 81,000 in 2010 to 500,000 last year. It has now reached one million fans and, with each fan having an average of 200 friends on the site, it has the potential to reach 200 million holidaymakers.
Announcing the reaching of this milestone, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, said it will launch a new website next month which has been specifically designed to exploit advances in social media.
"We set ambitious growth targets for our social media channels for 2012 and I am delighted that we have smashed those targets.
"However, it's not just about the numbers -- it is also the quality of our social media activity that stands out. Two recent surveys among fans in Great Britain and Germany showed they were significantly more likely to visit the island of Ireland as a result of 'liking' our Facebook pages," he added.
It cited a number of promotions which helped increase its Facebook following including a 'How Irish are you?' survey on its US site targeting the diaspora and an 'Escape the Madness' Olympics campaign in Britain during the summer.
Elsewhere Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar has launched a new golf marketing group which hopes to deliver a €2m tourism boost to the south, east and midlands.
Club Choice Ireland is made up of golf clubs, hotels and travel operators and will launch an "aggressive" marketing campaign to entice high-spending golf tourists from the UK.
Spokesman Tiernan Byrne said: "Golfing represents one of the most valuable sectors of the tourism industry in Ireland. Research carried out by Failte Ireland shows that each golfer from overseas is worth three times more to the Irish economy than the average tourist and that they are much more likely to be repeat visitors."