Last year 1.2 million U.S. visitors traveled to Ireland, setting a new record, and government agency Tourism Ireland aims to build on those numbers this year with new plans to promote tourism which were unveiled this week.

The number of U.S. visitors last year was a 15 percent increase over 2013, and building on recent successes and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s plans. Ireland’s “best prospect” visitors will be targeted more closely – with distinctive holiday experiences, events and special vacation packages tailored to their interests and designed to encourage a growing number of interested consumes to travel now.

Tourism Ireland will get them talking about Ireland among their colleagues and friends and then sharing those conversations online by harnessing the growing power of social media, as well as using the most effective digital media, print and broadcast channels, to motivate them about the appeal of the island of Ireland.

Speaking at the launch at the New York Athletic Club on Tuesday, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President U.S. and Canada, Alison Metcalfe said, “Our ambition in 2015 is to grow visitors from the US by a further six percent, and we look forward to working closely with our valuable industry partners in both the U.S. and Ireland to achieve the target. The Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route continue to provide great opportunities to discover our beautiful coastline, and the capital cities of Dublin and Belfast offer a tremendous ‘vibe of the city’ experience easily combined with easy access to outstanding natural scenery on their doorsteps.

“The outlook for 2015 is very positive, with a further 14 percent increase in peak season air capacity, making it that much easier to get to the island of Ireland from 11 gateways across the U.S.”

This year looks set to be another exciting one for tourism in Ireland. It’s 150 years since the birth of Irish poet and Nobel laureate, W.B Yeats and Tourism Ireland will promote Yeats 150 to its “Culturally Curious” target audience.

It’s also the year of Irish Design – ID2015 which provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the very best of Irish design via a year-long program of events and exhibitions.

For golfers, the 2015 Irish Open will see Ireland’s great golf champions, led by Rory McIlroy, take on the world’s best at the stunning Royal County Down golf links.

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