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21/03/2011 by

Tourism Ireland: 1st Social Game On Facebook?

We frequently try to inspire CMO’s to embrace social marketing, Facebook and social games. The most groundbreaking full year social program in tourism we have seen so far is definately the one of Tourism Tuscany. But Tourism Ireland claims to have launched the 1st branded social game on Facebook…

This St Patrick’s Day, Tourism Ireland launched a social game called Ireland Town on Facebook. The game brings the holiday experience to life for Facebook fans across the world and provides another valuable platform to promote the island of Ireland overseas.

Tourism Ireland is the first national tourism board in the world to launch a social game, they claim. With the game Tourism Ireland taps into the huge popularity of games like FarmVille and CityVille – 24% of all people on the internet in the US and UK play social games at least once a week.

Ireland Town will sit on ten of Tourism Ireland’s Facebook pages, including Great Britain, the US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Nordic Region, Canada and the Netherlands.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Director, said: “This is a new platform for Tourism Ireland to engage potential holidaymakers around the world with the kind of experience that a holiday in Ireland offers them. It is a unique promotional tool and a first, as no other national tourist board had done this before.

Tourism Ireland is constantly looking at innovative ways of reaching potential holidaymakers and we are increasingly using social media to do so, growing the online conversation about Ireland around the world. For those fans who may be planning to visit in 2011, this is certainly a different way to research their holiday.”

In Ireland Town, Facebook fans are invited to create their own idyllic town in Ireland, with the help of ‘tour guide’ Sally. They can then explore iconic sites and visitor attractions around the island, completing various challenges in order to progress to the next level of the game; these challenges reflect the huge variety of things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland.

With 32 destinations and nine different tasks to be completed at each, it is an opportunity to get fans interacting with Ireland in a fun and memorable way.

Fans can progress faster through the game if they sign up their Facebook friends to also join in the fun. For the fans who make it through all of the tasks, there is the chance to win a ‘real world’ prize of a holiday to Ireland.

With the incredible viral effect of social games, Tourism Ireland expects that up to 100,000 Facebook fans will sign up to play Ireland Town over the coming weeks. Mark Henry continued: “Given that Tourism Ireland currently has a fanbase of a quarter of a million people around the globe, and each of the fans has in turn an average of 130 friends, Tourism Ireland can potentially engage with 32.5 million people worldwide through our new Ireland Town game.”

Tourism Ireland will be driving interest in the game through a major advertising campaign, which includes targeted Facebook advertising; PR will also play an important role, particularly in terms of the game ‘going viral’.

You can take a look at social game Ireland Town and let us know if you feel that the 100,000 extra fans will be achieved.

I like the Ireland Town attempt, but I like their blog Discover Ireland maybe even more, as long term solution to drive brand and business objectives.

Some interesting insights I would like to share with you next:
Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.

Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.

Approximately 6.6 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.

Tourism Ireland’s international website is There are 42 different websites, providing information in 20 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.


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Igor Beuker

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