Plans are underway by Irish authorities to launch an international tourist campaign ahead of the scheduled May visits of Queen Elizabeth and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs have begun preparation for Obama’s visit and his itinerary.
Preparation has already been underway for the Queen’s visit.
A promotional campaign set to include TV, print and social media advertising will begin in the UK in the weeks leading up to the Queen’s visit, which is scheduled from May 17 to 20. Obama is expected to arrive around May 22.
Interest from international media agencies regarding the two official visits continues to rise with journalists from all over the world expected to arrive in Ireland to cover the events.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, which works in conjunction with Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board confirmed there have been hundreds of applications for media visas for coverage of the royal visit.
‘‘Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for 59 years, so Ireland is one of the only countries she has not visited at this stage. There is major interest in this state visit because it’s so historical, and international media will also want to see how the Irish economy is doing," Gibbons told the Sunday Business Post.
‘‘The country has been receiving media coverage for all the wrong reasons in the last few years, so this - along with the visit of Barack Obama - can help start a fresh narrative for us.
‘‘Britain and the US are two of our largest markets in terms of overseas visitors, but these promotional campaigns, and the international coverage both visits will receive, is not about a short-term bounce, it’s about growing more markets globally."
State authorities will be working on developing itineraries for the official visits that will promote Ireland. Gibbons said he believes the projection of an image of a ‘‘warm, friendly welcoming nation of people’ is key to enticing more tourists to Ireland.
‘‘Our research shows that landscapes, particularly historic ones, are of major interest to Americans, so it would be great if Obama were to visit a castle or significant historic site. Golf is also very popular in the US so perhaps the president playing a round would resonate well," said Gibbons.
‘‘When NBC last ran a lengthy feature on Ireland, the Aer Lingus phone lines in the US could hardly cope with the demand for bookings. The value of this visit, and the royal visit, cannot be underestimated."