Tourism Ireland has agreed to a deal to buy the Ireland.com domain name from the Irish Times.
Ease of recognition and memorability are the reasons the organization has decided to spend money on getting the URL, and a new website is also being developed to run alongside it. Indeed, the organization is hopeful the move will deliver long-term benefits for the country’s tourism sector.
The Internet is playing an increasingly large role when it comes to attracting people to the nation and in recognition of this, Tourism Ireland has decided to redevelop its suite of websites as it seeks to harness the “phenomenal growth” of social media.
A survey carried out in 2011 found that 73% of overseas vacationers said the Internet was an important information source when planning a trip to Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of the body, said: “The domain name Ireland.com is a natural fit for the work we do to promote the island of Ireland overseas. There are obvious benefits for tourism … which will allow us to achieve greater stand-out in the markets and will bring increased efficiencies in terms of promotion and search engine optimisation.”
He added the acquisition is also timely because a new website is set to be launched before the end of the year. At present, Tourism Ireland has the third-largest worldwide Facebook audience for a tourism body–behind only those in Australia and Spain–and so the group is eager to develop its social media offerings even more.
Once the new portal is up and running, it will have the capability to support 11 different languages and over 30 individual markets and will seek to build on the 12 million unique visitors from overseas the current website received in 2011.
Liam Kavanagh, managing director of the Irish Times, said he is delighted the domain name is now resting with an organization that is “responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas.”