Steve’s breakdown: You gotta love it when the guy at the top says something like “if extra money has to be spent, I want this to happen.” Here’s an example of how excited they are. Marketing experts estimate that the photograph of President Obama downing a pint of plain in Ollie Hayes’s bar is worth over $200 million to Guinness. It doesn’t matter that I think they are over reacting. They’re going to spend the money anyway so you might as well go for it.
DUBLIN, Ireland: Tourism chiefs are planning a marketing blitz in Britain and the US to capitalise on the success of the visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Barack Obama.
Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring yesterday met officials from Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland to examine ways of boosting overseas and domestic tourism in the aftermath of the two visits.
Mr Ring said afterwards he wanted the tourism organisations to build on the positivity of the past week and boost visitor numbers. “If extra money has to be spent, I want this to happen,” he said.
While it is not clear whether additional funding can be made available, Mr Ring said the money could be made available through cost savings in other areas. The exact details are to be worked out in a further meeting of the two organisations today.
Mr Ring described the publicity Ireland had received over the past week as unbelievable. “It’s the kind of publicity you couldn’t buy.”
Last year saw a 16 per cent fall-off in visitors from Britain, but he expressed the hope 3-4 per cent of this could be regained this year.
The first signs of a boost for tourism from Mr Obama’s visit were evident in Moneygall yesterday with an influx of American tourists to the Co Offaly town.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested yesterday that the visit would have a long-term effect in restoring Irish people’s pride in themselves and in their potential.
He said: “This is about us, it’s about our potential.
“It’s about recognising that while we have faced challenges we can come through this.”
He said the Queen’s visit, Garret FitzGerald’s funeral and the US president’s day in Ireland were “all different, all joined together and all about Ireland’s future”.
Speaking on RTÉ television, Mr Kenny admitted the assistance the US could give Ireland with its economic problems was limited, but said the trust the US had in Ireland was very important globally and in a European sense.
“The co-operation shown by you all made the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, and the Uefa Europa League final very successful. Dublin was centre stage across the world and we made them very welcome.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter told the Dáil that it cost €1.1 million to deploy the Defence Forces for Queen Elizabeth’s visit last week, while the Defence Forces’ involvement in the US president’s visit cost €600,000.
Mr Shatter said he did not envisage a need for an additional allocation for the Defence Forces to cover the costs incurred.
Fianna Fáil deputy Dara Calleary, who asked a question on the issue, said this was money well spent and paid tribute to the professionalism of those involved.
Dublin’s Lord Mayor Gerry Breen expressed the hope the visits would have a positive effect on tourism and business, and this would be reflected in new jobs. He also thanked the public for putting up with traffic disruptions.