The World Economic Forum has announced the results of its global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017. The biennial report ranks Ireland at number three in the world, out of 136 countries, for ‘effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists’. 

Ireland has moved from number five in the world, when the index was last compiled in 2015, to number three – ahead of countries including Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and France.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am really pleased to see that Ireland has moved up to third position in the world for tourism marketing and branding, out of 136 countries. The international tourism marketplace is an extremely competitive one and we are constantly looking at innovative and engaging ways to reach potential holidaymakers, to ensure the island of Ireland stands out from other destinations.”

Tourism Ireland has developed a significant digital footprint in recent years – particularly in social media. The organisation has almost 3.9 million active fans on Facebook and is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on the popular social networking site; it’s the number four tourism board in the world on Twitter, with almost 400,000 followers; and is number three on YouTube, with over 31 million views.

The organisation’s annual publicity programme creates thousands of opportunities for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about the island of Ireland; in 2016, this positive exposure was worth an estimated €385 million in equivalent advertising value.