Can Irish tourism maintain its stellar growth curve into 2017 and beyond? Just ask Luke Skywalker.
The elusive Jedi, last seen brooding on Skellig Michael in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is this week doing a nixer in London. Or rather, an uncanny lookalike is.
Skywalker's doppelganger is greeting visitors to the Tourism Ireland stand at World Travel Market (WTM), the world's largest travel fair. Beside him, a row of lightsabers is laid out for selfies beside maps of Ireland and Star Wars location flyers.
It's all part of a €330,000 WTM marketing push, jointly funded by Tourism Ireland and over 70 tourism businesses, to keep Irish tourism in hyperdrive.
With some 50,000 trade visitors and 3,000 media professionals filing through ExCeL London this week, the annual travel fair heralds the beginning of the island's promotional drive overseas for the 2017 season.
Full article can be read online at www.independent.ie