Tourism Ireland, entrusted with promoting the island of Ireland across the globe, may have just pulled off a much bigger masterstroke than they thought possible.
Not only have they encouraged world-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield to visit Ireland recently, but he’s also offered to give his time free of charge to promote Ireland as a tourism brand ambassador. The Canadian’s connection with Ireland first began when his daughter came to Trinity to pursue her studies, and continued when his photographs of Dublin and tweets in Irish from space caused a sensation among his global followers on social media. He even duetted with The Chieftans from his capsule, and sang Danny Boy live on St. Patrick’s Day.
One of the keys to effective marketing is to tap into those individuals who exert tremendous influence over a large audience – Hadfield has over 1 million devoted followers on Twitter and over half a million on Facebook. For a tourism industry that is just beginning to re-establish itself as a vital part of Ireland’s economic recovery, Hadfield’s enthusiastic involvement will tap strongly into an underdeveloped Canadian market in particular, and help to re-ignite a dormant US one.
Coming at the end of the successful year-long Gathering initiative, Niall Gibbons and Tourism Ireland may have uncovered an effective way of bringing more curious visitors to these shores. Chris Hadfield has a natural ability to captivate audiences, both live and online, through an extraordinarily descriptive use of language, humour and song: for this very reason, it’s interesting that it takes an inspiring guest in our country to be best placed in reflecting our national brand and identity.