French students focus on Banner county for school tour project

IT’S a long, long way from Clare to France, but for 150 French schools that took part in a tourism project about the Cliffs of Moher, the Banner county now seems a lot closer.

Last October more than 1,100 students around France responded to an invitation from Tourism Ireland to develop an innovative project focusing on the Cliffs of Moher to be in a chance to win a class trip to the region in 2011.

The objective was to raise awareness of county Clare and the Shannon Region as an ideal destination for French school trips, and to encourage teachers to include this part of Ireland in their future itineraries.

According to Tourism Ireland, the standard of projects submitted was extremely high, and included:

* About 3,000 flyers and posters about the Cliffs of Moher being distributed.

* DVDs and 11 games developed.

* 21 new websites and nine blogs.

* 144 town councils and mayors around France targeted by their local schools to vote for their project.

* 11 different Facebook pages created with some 2,000 fans.

* 15 articles in regional newspapers around France.

One class in the town of Coutras even put on a “flashmob” of 200 students who danced around town to the beat of traditional Irish music.

Tourism Ireland’s Southern Europe manager Billy Condon said there was a huge response to the project in schools right around France and they were extremely impressed by the high standard and creativity of the projects received.

“We were delighted — Tourism Ireland has been working hard to promote the Shannon Region and the island of Ireland in France as an ideal destination for school group trips. We know that this part of Ireland has much that appeals to the teachers and their students, including dramatic scenery and coastline, rich culture and heritage and, above all, friendly and welcoming people.”

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