Belfast Telegraph

Giants Causeway to get pride of place on Paris Metro

By Danny Lorimer

Posters of the world-renowned Giant's Causeway are being put up in the famous Paris Metro transport system to try and tempt French tourists to visit Northern Ireland.

The new billboards have been put up in Metro stations across the capital and around other major French cities.

The advertisements are part of a wider campaign by Tourism Ireland, which has teamed up with one of France's biggest travel agents for its biggest-ever promotional push in France.

Around 700 billboards have been put up in Metro stations across the City of Light and, as well as the famous rock formation, feature other attractions such as the Wild Atlantic Way.

French travellers are being encouraged to "vibrate to the rhythm of Ireland", with weekend breaks offered from €349.

The evocative posters hope to remind sophisticated urban Parisiennes that Northern Ireland is just a short distance away by either plane or ferry.

Séverine Lecart, Tourism Ireland's e-marketing executive in France, said: "In 2013 we saw a record number of French visitors to the island of Ireland and we are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2014 in an effort to keep the momentum going and build on that growth."

"Our spring campaign with our partner, Go Voyages, is an important element of that programme, to boost travel; and I am delighted to say that the campaign is already performing well."

Ms Lecart added that they had already seen a "strong increase" in inquiries and bookings for holidays to the entire island of Ireland.

The poster campaign, which runs until mid May, is part of a wider strategy from Tourism Ireland to increase the number of visitors from France and Germany over the next three years.

The body is aiming to see the number of French tourists coming here rise to 512,000 by 2016. It also wants to increase the number of tourists who visit both sides of the border.

It's hoped the poster campaign in the transport system in Paris and other major centres will go some way to achieving that target, but it is also part of a wider strategy. Tourism Ireland has organised co-operative advertising campaigns with transport companies such as Aer Lingus, Irish Ferries and Ryanair.

The Paris Metro is the second busiest underground rail system in Europe.

It carries more than four million passengers each day, rivalled only by the London Underground network.

It has a strong poster advertising tradition dating back to the 1920s.

A large proportion of the posters feature the Metro stations themselves with their Art Nouveau architecture and design. Many renowned artists designed posters for the Metro in the past and many of the images are now collectors' items and seen as works of art, especially those from the 1920s and 1930s.

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