Tourism from US to Return to Growth in 2011

22 Dec 2010

Tourism Ireland kicks off its marketing drive for 2011 in the all-important US market next week, with an extensive promotional campaign beginning on 26 December which will reach millions of potential holidaymakers.  The worst is now over for the US travel market.  Consumer confidence and travel sentiment there is improving.  Research shows there is pent-up demand for travel and this represents a real opportunity for Ireland.  Tourism Ireland advises that the all-important US market will return to growth in 2011. 

The US is a critically important market for tourism to the island of Ireland, with 760,000 American visitors expected to visit in 2010, delivering over €550 million in revenue for the economies North and South, and staying an average of 9.3 nights – longer than visitors from other markets.  Positive factors to build on in 2011 include increased air access (with new flights announced by US Airways from Charlotte in North Carolina to Dublin); a better perception of value for money, based on lower prices on the ground in Ireland and a more favourable exchange rate; and Ireland ranks at number five on Americans’ ‘wish list’ of places to visit in 2011.

This kick-start campaign heralds the start of a year-long promotional drive by Tourism Ireland in the US in 2011.  Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: This campaign is just the start; it’s all about getting in early and keeping Ireland to the fore.  The good news is that the island of Ireland enjoys a great level of awareness and a very positive image as a desirable holiday destination in the United States and is on nearly everyone’s ‘wish list’.  The most urgent task for Tourism Ireland is to persuade Americans who had put their travel plans on hold or who intend visiting Ireland ‘some day’, to come in 2011.”

The radio ads will air in cities with direct flights, and good indirect flight services, to the island of Ireland – including New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston.  As well as the radio ads, the new campaign will include online advertising on popular news and lifestyle websites.  In addition, Tourism Ireland’s ‘Go’ webisodes (a series of short online movies produced by Tourism Ireland and starring ‘real’ local characters from around Ireland) will highlight the fun and spontaneity of a holiday here.  Golf will be a major focus, with ads in Golfweek magazine and on, as well as TV ads running on the popular Golf Channel. 

Niall Gibbons continued: “Our messages in 2011 will include: there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland; the welcome for American visitors has never been warmer; there is a superb range of interesting things to see and do including great cultural experiences, events and sporting opportunities; on-the-ground value has never been better; and it has never been easier to get here from US cities.”

Tourism Ireland promotional activity in North America in 2011 will include:
  • Targeting the Diaspora: an estimated 80 million American people claim an ancestral link to the island of Ireland.  Tourism Ireland will target this huge Diaspora market by creating authentic and genuine stories around the island of Ireland.   
  • Publicity Spotlight: Tourism Ireland will generate positive word-of-mouth and shine a spotlight on holidays in Ireland through publicity, and in particular through popular TV and radio shows with huge audiences across the US.
  • Social Media: Tourism Ireland will utilise social media to communicate inviting messages, to demonstrate the friendliness and fun for which Ireland is renowned and to encourage those who have visited to share their stories.  Tourism Ireland’s 83,000+ US Facebook fans will help to spread the good news about Ireland in 2011. 
  • Golf and business tourism: promotions in 2011 will highlight our world-class golf and business tourism product. 

Promotional efforts will concentrate on ‘sightseers and cultures seekers’, those who have travelled to Europe previously, and college-educated Americans aged 35 and over who have a household income of more than $75,000.


Further information:
Sinéad Grace, Media & PR Manager, Tourism Ireland
Tel:  01-476 3493/ 087-685 9027

Note to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• 7.6 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2009, delivering revenue of €3.46 billion. 
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 20 different languages covering every continent.  In 2009 attracted a record 13+ million unique visitors, a +34% increase in visits on 2008.



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