I welcome the recently published ITIC report on "Capitalising on Dublin's Potential" as a tourist destination and was glad to see that it involved wide consultation across the industry, local authorities and the State Agencies. The report makes a number of recommendations which will need further consideration by the Department and the State Agencies. In relation to the specific recommendation regarding branding of Dublin,I agree that attention needs to be given to how best to brand Dublin although I note that the report does suggest that any brand would be wider than tourism and involve local authorities and non-tourism businesses as well.
I understand that since the integration of Dublin Tourism, Fáilte Ireland has established a new dedicated Visit Dublin unit to aggressively promote Dublin as a premier destination. I am informed by Fáilte Ireland that the Visit Dublin Unit has a number of new initiatives planned for 2012 including working with Tourism Ireland to deliver an extensive international marketing campaign which will take a fresh approach to promoting Dublin. A full schedule of multi-media activity focussing on the key markets of Great Britain, France, Germany and the US is planned as part of this campaign. An updated version of the successful Visit Dublin App is also in development. Furthermore, in tandem with investment by Failte Ireland in tourism product in Trinity College, Meeting House Square, Malahide Castle and the Dubline heritage trail, there continues to be significant investment in major festivals for the city. These include established events such as the St. Patrick's festival but also new events such as the New Year's Eve festival.
There are a number of high-profile international tourism and sporting events being held in Dublin this year that are being supported by the tourism agencies. These events include the Tall Ships Race, the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships, World Handball Championships and Bavaria City Racing. Support is also being given to the Notre Dame vs Navy American Football Game, which will be played at the Aviva Stadium in September. It is estimated that this event alone will attract up to 40,000 overseas visitors to the city. Next year we can look forward to hosting the Heineken and Amlin Cups as well as a range of events as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013. These investments continue to increase the attractiveness of the city as a tourist destination.