New United Irish body launches £48million plan

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Irish Tourist Board have joined forces to form a new company, which will promote the island as a whole. Tourism Ireland launched this month and will undertake marketing activities for the two tourist boards. Its immediate task is to help the industry regain the ground lost last year following 11 September and position it for future growth in the first fully integrated all-island campaign. It is investing £3.2m in the production of a TV, print and tactical advertising campaign for use in 12 key overseas markets. Its total campaign spend over the next three years will be more than £48m. Northern Ireland Tourist Board general manager for Great Britain, Jim Paul said: "This is a historic moment for Irish tourism. For the first time we have an actual organisation in place that will promote the opportunities to explore the island of Ireland in its entirety." Joint Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Irish Tourist Board initiatives have been launched in the past but never by one single body. The two companies have worked together on promotions and shared an all-Ireland at trade shows. The new company is jointly funded by the two governments with the marketing programme based on a 2:1 ratio South to North. It was set up under the framework of the Belfast Agreement of Good Friday in 1998 to promote increased tourism to the island. Tourism Ireland chief executive Paul O’Toole said: "We are a new company in a new environment. Tourism Ireland will capitalise on all possible opportunities in the marketplace this year to ensure we attract maximum visitor numbers."

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