Northern Ireland

Snow Patrol feature in new NI tourism ad

Snow Patrol
Image caption A track from the latest Snow Patrol album will feature in the campaign.

County Down rock band Snow Patrol feature in a new campaign aimed at boosting tourism to NI by 20% in 2012.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster is to launch the campaign which will run in 22 countries.

It will include a TV advertisement with the tagline 'Jump to Northern Ireland' and new music from Snow Patrol.

Tourism Ireland hopes to build on a successful 2011 with the MTV EMA Awards in Belfast and the high profile wins of golfers Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

The campaign, which will launch in January, will include TV, radio, newspaper, cinema and online advertising and reach an estimated audience of 60m potential visitors worldwide.

Mrs Foster said 2012 was a real opportunity for Northern Ireland.

"The figures for the first half of this year are up 11% on last year. Now we have to grasp the opportunity of 2012 it is a huge year and we have to bring visitors here.

"We have invested more than £300m in infrastructure and the time is right."

The tourism minister said the executive had agreed £4.7m to Tourism Ireland to promote Northern Ireland in the Great Britain market.

Image caption The tourism minister said 2012 was a real opportunity for Northern Ireland

"There is a need to sell Northern Ireland in 2012 to our friends and colleagues in the UK," she said.

Mrs Foster said the recent MTV Awards in Belfast had been a real boost for the city and the results were evident on international hotel and holiday booking websites.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons said a 20% increase in tourism figures was "ambitious" in the current economic climate.

"But 2012 represents an opportunity to change perceptions out there. We are on the cusp of something historic," he said.

"Some old perceptions exist whether you like it or not. But we saw the legacy of the MTV awards and what they did for Belfast. The number of inquiries on international websites went into treble digital figures.

"With the Titanic Quarter opening, we should be capitalising on 2012 next year."