Tourism Ireland has bought the domain name Ireland.com from the Irish Times for $640,541 (€495,000). The website will be unveiled as a new URL for the Irish tourism industry later this year.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said acquiring this domain name is “a natural fit.”
Tourism Ireland is a national marketing body, established in 1998 as part of the Belfast Agreement. Its role is to promote the island of Ireland overseas.
Gibbons hopes that the ease of recognition of Ireland.com will mean their site will stand out during online searches.
The managing director of the Irish Times, Liam Kavanagh, said, “We are very pleased that the organization responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas will have the opportunity to leverage the brand and URL that is ireland.com.
“From an Irish Times perspective, we will now focus on the continued development of irishtimes.com and to position it at home and internationally as Ireland’s leading quality news and information website.”
The news Tourism Ireland website, at Ireland.com, will support 11 languages in over 30 markets.
“Our new site and new URL will help us to harness more effectively the phenomenal growth in social media and to project an even stronger online presence to attract more visitors here,” Gibbons said.
Tourism Ireland’s websites attracted 12 million unique visitors from overseas in 2011. Its Facebook audience is the third largest in the world, after Australia and Spain. Last year, Tourism Ireland found that 73 percent of overseas visitors said they used the Internet to find important information about their vacation in Ireland.
In 1997, The Irish Times Ltd bought Ireland.com. For a decade, the URL hosted the newspaper’s content and a breaking news service. Their service can now be found at IrishTimes.com.