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I'd consider role as Irish film ambassador, says Cruise

HOLLYWOOD star Tom Cruise has said he would love a role as a global film ambassador for Ireland but his diary is full with movie work at the moment.

The Irish Government has been pursuing the Mission Impossible actor in the hope of recruiting him to promote the Irish film industry abroad.

Since the star's visit here last year Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan has been in touch with Cruise's representatives who replied saying he was open to becoming a film ambassador with the Irish Film Board (IFB).

The role would involve Cruise working with the Irish Film Board for no fee at key events during the year, including the Cannes Festival, Toronto, and Sundance.

In a letter to the Minister, Mr Cruise said he wants to remain in contact and he may consider the role in the future – but for now his schedule is too busy for him to take on the role right away.

Yesterday it was revealed that Dublin Zoo and the Guinness Storehouse are battling to be most popular tourist attraction of 2013.

At the Guinness Storehouse, a total of 1,156,985 visitors passed through the doors last year, breaking the previous record by 7pc.

OVERWHELMED

The zoo took second place in the tourist attraction league in 2012 with a total of 1,029,417 visitors, but officials are hoping the final tally for 2013 will push them into top place.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is claiming third place with a 10pc rise in numbers and a final tally of 960,134 visitors for the year.

Visitors to the Book of Kells in Trinity College rose to 588,723, 5pc over 2013 and at St Patrick's Cathedral 372,000 visitors were recorded.

Guinness Storehouse managing director Paul Carty said they had been overwhelmed by tourist numbers in the past 12 months.

"Not only did we welcome more visitors than ever, we also hosted an array of high-profile guests," he said.

These included Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise and Breaking Bad star Dean Norris.

Failte Ireland's Alex Connolly said the Guinness Storehouse's impressive performance "mirrors a stellar year for tourism in general" boosted by The Gathering initiative.

"Ireland proved to be an incredible draw over the last 12 months for international travellers, especially from Europe and the US," he said.

WEATHER

In Co Clare, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience had its third successive increase in visitor numbers. Management said it was down to a combination of growth in group travel, weather and The Gathering.

At Trinity College, the surge in visitors to the Book of Kells was also influenced by the American market, according to Anne-Marie Diffley.

"Cruise ships also made a difference. There were a lot of them where about 600 people would come to visit in a single morning," she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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