Eire's tourist board courts Irish-Americans

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NEW YORK -- The Irish Tourist Board launched a six-week promotional campaign to spur off-season visits to Ireland by Irish-Americans.

The ad blitz, Irresistible Ireland -- Irresistible Bargains, is running in Irish ethnic media and highlights 11 air-inclusive packages, priced at $389 per person, double, available from nine tour operators.

Valid through Dec. 7, the deals offer roundtrip travel on Aer Lingus and from two to six nights at a hotel, farmhouse or country home along with car rentals, golf rounds, full Irish breakfasts and other perks, depending on length of stay.

The tourist board decided to target Irish-Americans based on positive market history.

"They've previously responded well to our pricing initiatives," said a spokeswoman.

Although many ethnic travelers visit family while in Ireland, "they are still consumers of tourism product," she added, renting cars and patronizing hotels and restaurants.

More information is available at (800) 669-9967 or on line at www.shamrock.org.

In a related matter, the planned merger of the Irish Tourist Board and Northern Ireland Tourist Board will be completed Nov. 30.

Factional strife in Northern Ireland over the summer had threatened the stability of the provincial government that had committed to the plan.

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