Second video gaffe angers whale-watchers

FOR a second year running, Fáilte Ireland has made an advertisement depicting Irish whale-watching — but none of the whales filmed can be found in Irish waters.

Instead, the Fáilte Ireland video shows a breaching southern right whale which is only found in the Southern Hemisphere, normally around Australia or South Africa.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has questioned why the State agency didn’t use pictures of the equally majestic humpback or fin whale, which are common in Irish waters.

Last night, the IWDG urged Fáilte Ireland to “get their details right as this promotion is raising expectations that can’t be met”.

IWDG co-ordinator Simon Berrow said: “It’s great that we are promoting marine tourism but if we are serious about it, let’s do it properly as we have enormous potential in this area and the thing is that many amateur whale-watchers are knowledgeable and will pick up on this error. Why did we use these species?”

It’s not as if Fáilte Ireland weren’t aware of the existence of such problems.

Last year, they made the same mistake in another tourism video and the mix-up was raised on RTÉ’s Mooney Goes Wild programme.

At the time, Fáilte Ireland said that stock footage was used from a Dublin advertising agency.

Last night a Fáilte Ireland spokesman said that the most recent video was not being aired on national television but had been used only once this year at an Irish Travel Industry launch.

“It was not part of our consumer promotions. It was a corporate video we had since last year,” he said.

Ireland has built a strong reputation as a destination for the spotting of whales and dolphins.

The worldwide whale population is rising and the mammals are becoming increasingly common in inshore waters.

Bottleneck dolphins are regularly found around the Shannon, while fantastic video footage was taken last year of breaching humpback whales off Hook Head in Wexford and killer whales are also found off the west and north-west coast.


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