A champion idea as Northern Ireland golf heroes help lure tourists

Northern Ireland is being dubbed as “The Home of Champions” in a bid to cash in on the global success of the local golfers to promote tourism.

The international media’s interest in Northern Ireland has been aroused after the back-to-back victories of US Open winner Graeme McDowell last year and Rory McIlroy this year, and then the outstanding victory of Darren Clarke in the Open.

A new £1.8 million promotional campaign has been teed off by Ireland’s tourism to bring thousands of gold fans to Northern Ireland. Part of the inspiration was the over 35,000 news articles about golf in Northern Ireland published in over a hundred countries.

The New York Times declared: “Northern Ireland has an outsized presence in golf.’”

Televisions screens across the United States and the United Kingdom are set to be bombarded with advertisements this summer to take advantage of the opportunity.

Magazines like Golfweek and Golf World as well as newspapers like the Irish Voice and the Irish Echo have already published information on golf in Northern Ireland and these would have been seen by around 365,000 Americans.

The new Home of Champions advertisements will be published in key financial, business and golf publications in Britain to drive potential holidaymakers to the discvoerireland.com website’s golf offers section.

Around 250,000 golf enthusiasts all over the world may have entered the Irish Open in Killarney later this week just to see McDowell, McIlroy, Clarke and Padraig Harrington in action.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said Northern Ireland has been labelled by many commentators now as the “golfing capital of the world”.

“The fact that we can now boast three Major-winning golfers in 13 months gives us an unprecedented opportunity to show the rest of the world what makes Northern Ireland’s golf offering so special,” she said.

“We are, as Tourism Ireland’s new marketing campaign says, the Home of Champions and this campaign, together with the prospect of a major golf tournament at Royal Portrush, will be a tremendous boost in our continuing efforts to showcase our golf tourism offering on the international stage.”

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said Northern Ireland is firmly in the global golfing spotlight .