IRELAND MOUNTS TOURISM CAMPAIGN TO COUNTER FOOT AND MOUTH FEARS

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DUBLIN -- Bord Failte, Ireland's state tourism agency, has launched a worldwide advertising campaign called "Ireland Is Open" to counter negative publicity following the outbreak of foot and mouth here.

In addition to the Bord Failte campaign, leading Irish politicians, including President Mary McAleese, are touring cities in Europe, Asia and the U.S. with the aim of reassuring tourists that the disease poses no threat to humans or the food chain.

More than 1 million Americans, a record, were expected to visit Ireland this year. This number, because of cancellations relating to the foot and mouth outbreak, could be as little as 500,000.

Bord Failte will use the bulk of its $20 million marketing budget this year to run special campaigns in the U.S., Europe and Asia in a bid to dispel fears and boost tourism.

DDB Worldwide, Bord Failte's lead agency, is handling the special global campaign. Key markets include the U.S., France, Italy, the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands.

The Republic of Ireland has had one confirmed case of foot and mouth. However, the country's tourism industry has been affected by the crisis in the U.K. -- Gerard O'Dwyer

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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