The World Cities Culture Report 2012, to which the Deputy refers, examines the cultural offering of 12 of the world’s greatest cities, selected by the application of a set of objective criteria such as economic wealth and population figures, and all of which differ significantly from Dublin in terms of size, scale and population. However, a number of the key messages emanating from the report resonate strongly with Dublin as our capital city, having regard to the unique role that the cultural and creative industries of any city must play to ensure the endurance, development and evolution of that city.
A crucial part of the current and future repositioning of the economy is the leveraging of Ireland's cultural and creative resources as part of the development of a robust economic base, in part rooted in the cultural and creative industries. Dublin, as our capital city, is a key stakeholder in this process.
Cultural tourism is now a key element of Ireland’s tourism industry, with culture cited by the majority of visitors to Ireland as a key motivator in choosing Ireland. Our national cultural institutions are essential building blocks of the cultural identity and creativity of Ireland and the future success of the knowledge economy. In 2011, I am proud to say there were over 3.6 million visitors to the national cultural institutions and other cultural venues supported by my Department.
Among the three working groups operated by the Council of National Cultural Institutions, CNCI, its marketing group organises the joint marketing of the institutions. In recent years, this has consisted primarily of advertising via the various media outlets on offer and the redesign and upgrade of the CNCI website. This year the group also organised a specific Internet advertising campaign aimed at attracting overflow visitors from the London Olympics to Ireland and a shared stand for all of the national cultural institutions at the Ploughing Championships in Wexford, which I am happy to report attracted significant interest. The group also hopes to broaden promotion beyond the typical advertising media in the coming years.
Culture Night is an initiative strongly supported by my Department since its inception. The event has grown from a relatively small-scale cultural event in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is, with more than 300,000 people visiting museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres throughout the country in 2011. Early indications are that the 2012 figures for this event will match, if not exceed, this.
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My Department also funded the development of the Culturefox application for smartphones and it is widely used by arts organisations and tourists alike. There are numerous other events and projects to which my Department provides funding and support, all of which play a key role in promoting Dublin in all its forms. These include the Dublin Theatre Festival, projects celebrating Dublin's selection as the 2012 City of Science and the many projects which recognise and celebrate the 2010 designation of Dublin as an UNESCO City of Literature.