Fáilte Ireland budgeted almost €300,000 for social media influencers

New information shows that Fáilte Ireland, the Irish government’s tourism authority, disbursed almost €300,000 in the past two years in exchange for marketing promotional work by social media influencers.

The money went to 46 different people, paid out between August 2020 and December 2022. Individual fees went from €800 all the way to €15,000.

Fáilte Ireland’s social media marketing budget came to light thanks to information released through the FOI (Freedom of Information) act. Influencers who received money included sports personalities and TV presenters.

Influencers compensated by the authority included Rozanna Purcell, Greg O’Shea, Tadhg Fleming, Aoibhín Garrihy, Anna Geary, Keith Walsh, and Baz Ashmawy.

The authority’s social media hires tied into several of its recent marketing campaigns, including “Keep Discovering” Make a Break for it” and “Come Here to Me, Dublin”.

Influencers earned their pay by promoting destinations selected by the authority in static posts and published stories.

One main aim of the social media work was to encourage domestic tourism while Covid travel restrictions severely reduced the number of foreign tourists reaching Ireland.

Roz Purcell, the one-time Miss Universe Ireland turned travel blogger, was one of the program’s most popular participants, reaching out to an audience of over 500,000 followers just on Instagram.

The authority’s “Keep Discovering” campaign delivered €11,775 to Purcell to ensure favorable attention during a trip she took in July 2021.

While visiting the Wild Atlantic Way, Purcell shared images and content from Mayo and Sligo.

In August of that year, Purcell was promoting Offaly and Westmeath as part of the “Hidden Heartlands” campaign, earning more than €12,000 in the process.

She earned a further €11,885 in the same campaign in September by making multiple posts about visiting attractions in Dublin, including the Liberties.

Purcell’s promotional activity continued and accelerated in 2022, which saw her become the official ambassador for Fáilte Ireland’s “Keep Discovering” campaign. She was paid €60,000 for four visits promoted through her brand, The Hike Life.

She also earned €15,000 for a Cork excursion in May of that year that tied into the authority’s “Ancient East” initiative.

Additional trips in July (to Lough Derg) and in September (to Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way) each paid a further €15,000 to verified Instagram marketers.

Purcell earned the same fee for a Dublin trip taken in October of 2002. The influencer made sure all of her posts on behalf of Fáilte Ireland were marked as advertisements.

Anna Geary, the former All-Ireland camogie captain from Cork and current RTÉ presenter, made a two-day trip to Kilkenny in July of 2020 that earned her €4,670 from the tourism authority.

Greg O’Shea, known for his appearances on Love Island, was given €11,635 for promoting the “Ancient East” campaign during a visit in September 2021.

O’Shea, now a presenter for Virgin Media, has over 900,000 Instagram followers.

Fees totaling €12,250 went to three different social media influencers as part of an effort to promote Dublin’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic (August 27).

A spokesman for the authority said that its promotional work with influencers was part of a comprehensive marketing effort to engage with Irish citizens and encourage more domestic tourism.

The spokesman explained that working with chosen influencers and content creators was an effective strategy to reach specific demographics with highly-targeted messages, and the result was a measurable increase in domestic traveling and vacationing in Ireland.

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