ooking for some good news? Take a
gander at Ireland, where tourism marketing and politics both have
taken a turn for the better.
On the political side, the Irish Republican Army began the
long-awaited process of putting its weapons beyond use.
Its leaders saw the value in distancing the group from the
terrorist mentality that has laid another war on the doorstep of
And Sinn Fein leaders know that, in this new world of terror,
the flow of cash from American supporters to the political party's
coffers would disappear without the promised decommissioning.
The move will ease tensions and show stability going forward,
and will remove the possibility that the new power-sharing
government will again collapse, as it has done twice in recent
On the tourism side, the Irish Tourist Board unveiled a
promotional campaign aimed at spurring off-season visits to Ireland
by U.S. travelers, particularly Irish-Americans.
A highlight of the Irresistible Ireland -- Irresistible Bargains
ad campaign, to be promoted mainly in ethnic media, is a series of
$389 air-inclusive tour packages combining hotel and country-home
stays for up to six nights.
That's a great deal. The tourist board is smart to capitalize on
the off-season. The destination is a short hop from the East Coast,
compared to points on the Continent, and the price just might be
low enough to appeal to folks who are eager to take a peace-of-mind
break in an English-speaking country.
And, as planned many months ago, the merger of the Irish Tourist
Board and Northern Irish Tourist Board will be completed Nov. 30.
This will spawn lots of new initiatives for next year's high
My money is on Ireland to become the first foreign country to
rebound from the worldwide tourism slowdown. I hope I'm right.
Donna Tunney is executive editor of Travel Weekly, Travel
Weekly Crossroads and Travel Management Daily.