TOURIST attractions in the Moyle area are a key part of a brand new online Facebook game set up by Tourism Ireland.
‘Ireland Town’ is based on the popular Facebook bame ‘Farmville’ and it allows people to build their own town with an Irish dimension and as part of the bus people can ‘take the bus’ and get an idea of what the sights of north Antrim are like.
Places mentioned in the game include the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Distillery and Carrick-A-Rede Ropebridge but there is also information about other spots like Dunluce Castle and Rathlin Island.
Tourism Ireland says Ireland Town brings the holiday experience here to life for Facebook fans across the world and provides another valuable platform to promote the island of Ireland overseas.
Tourism Ireland is the first national tourism board in the world to launch a social game. It taps into the huge popularity of games like FarmVille and CityVille – 24% of all people on the internet in the US and GB play social games at least once a week.
By last Wednesday over 5,000 people had said they liked the game which was only launched the previous week on St Patrick’s Day.
Ireland Town will sit on ten of Tourism Ireland’s Facebook pages, including Great Britain, the US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Nordic Region, Canada and the Netherlands.
Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Director, said: “This is a new platform for Tourism Ireland to engage potential holidaymakers around the world with the kind of experience that a holiday in Ireland offers them.
“It is a unique promotional tool and a first, as no other national tourist board had done this before. Tourism Ireland is constantly looking at innovative ways of reaching potential holidaymakers and we are increasingly using social media to do so, growing the online conversation about Ireland around the world. For those fans who may be planning to visit in 2011, this is certainly a different way to research their holiday.”
In Ireland Town, Facebook fans are invited to create their own idyllic town in Ireland, with the help of ‘tour guide’ Sally. They can then explore iconic sites and visitor attractions around the island, completing various challenges in order to progress to the next level of the game; these challenges reflect the huge variety of things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland.
With 32 destinations and nine different tasks to be completed at each, it is a fantastic opportunity to get fans interacting with Ireland in a fun and memorable way.
Fans can progress faster through the game if they sign up their Facebook friends to also join in the fun. For the fans who make it through all of the tasks, there is the chance to win a ‘real world’ prize of a holiday to Ireland.
With the incredible viral effect of social games, it is expected that up to 100,000 Facebook fans will sign up to play Ireland Town over the coming weeks.
Mark Henry continued: “Given that Tourism Ireland currently has a fanbase of a quarter of a million people around the globe, and each of the fans has in turn an average of 130 friends, Tourism Ireland can potentially engage with 32.5 million people worldwide through our new Ireland Town game.”
Tourism Ireland will be driving interest in the game through a major advertising campaign, which includes targeted Facebook advertising; PR will also play an important role, particularly in terms of the game ‘going viral’.