Tourism Ireland has acquired the domain name Ireland.com from The Irish Times Ltd as part of plans to unveil a new website for the tourism industry later this year.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the domain name was “a natural fit” for the work the all-island State body does to promote Ireland overseas.
The ease of recognition for the domain name will make the site stand out as a destination for potential visitors when they perform online searches relating to Ireland, he added.
Tourism Ireland has paid a fee of €495,000 to The Irish Times under a digital co-operation agreement. “We are very pleased that the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas will have the opportunity to leverage the brand and URL that is Ireland.com,” said Irish Times managing director Liam Kavanagh.
“From an Irish Times perspective, we will now focus on the continued development of irishtimes.comand to position it at home and internationally as Ireland’s leading quality news and information website,” Mr Kavanagh added.
As a result of the agreement, @ireland.com email addresses will no longer be available – a move that will affect some 15,000 active users. A notice will be sent to users informing them the service will be discontinued from November 7th. From this date, users will no longer be able to send or receive messages from their accounts, while from December 7th, they will no longer have access to their inboxes.
Continuing to run the email service would have required significant investment on the part of the company, Mr Kavanagh said.
The Irish Times Ltd acquired the Ireland.comdomain name in 1997 and, for a decade, the URL hosted content from the newspaper as well as a breaking news service. In 2008, irishtimes.combecame the URL for all the company’s editorial content.
Tourism Ireland’s new website will support 11 different languages and more than 30 individual markets. “Our new site and new URL will help us to harness more effectively the phenomenal growth in social media and to project an even stronger online presence to attract more visitors here,” Mr Gibbons said.
In 2011, Tourism Ireland sites attracted almost 12 million unique visitors from overseas