The game is meant to bring "the holiday experience" in Ireland to life for Facebook fans around the world. It includes a competition to win prizes.
Tourism Ireland claims to be the first national tourism board in the world to launch a social game. It taps into the popularity of games like FarmVille and CityVille -- 24% of all people on the internet in the U.S. and Great Britain play social games at least once a week.
In Ireland Town, Facebook fans can 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. There are 32 destinations and nine different tasks to be completed during each challenge.
Fans can progress faster through the game if they sign up their Facebook friends to also join in. For the fans who make it through all of the tasks, there is the chance to win a holiday in Ireland.
"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," says Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland's central marketing director. "It is a unique promotional tool. For those fans who may be planning to visit in 2011, this is certainly a different way to research their holiday."
With the 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. Henry says: "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."--Tanya Irwin