Almost 10,000 readers of the Guardian newspaper around Britain have given Ireland the thumbs up as a fantastic place for a holiday or short break, in a survey undertaken on behalf of Tourism Ireland this summer.
The online survey, carried out by the Guardian in June and July of this year, involved some straightforward questions to readers of the newspaper, to probe Britons’ attitudes to Ireland and holiday-taking here. The good news is that the results show an overwhelmingly positive image of Ireland in our largest and most important tourist market.
When questioned about Ireland, the first words that came to the minds of the people surveyed included ‘beautiful’, ‘tranquil’ and ‘magical’. It would appear we’ve lost none of our charm, with our friendly and welcoming people receiving a resounding thumbs up. Our ‘green’ scenery, the ‘craic’ and ‘Guinness’ were also mentioned. While there is some evidence of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, with words like ‘debt’, ‘skint’ and ‘bailout’ mentioned, the positive associations far outweigh the negatives with references such as ‘resilient’, ‘changing’ and ‘progressive’.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said: “Great Britain is our largest and most important tourism market, accounting for about 45% of all our overseas visitors, so it is very reassuring to learn that Ireland’s appeal for Britons as a great holiday destination remains strong. The warm welcome of the Irish people and our beautiful landscape are still core to our appeal in that market.
“After a number of difficult years, restoring the Great Britain market to growth in 2011 remains a top priority for Tourism Ireland. We have seen some growth in British visitors in the first six months of this year; however, we are very much aware that the economic situation in Britain remains fragile and we are keeping the market under close review. We are rolling out an extensive autumn campaign there right now, designed to capitalise on late booking trends, as there is still everything to play for.”
When asked if an Irish celebrity would influence their decision to holiday in Ireland, 62% of those surveyed said no. For the 38% who might be tempted by an Irish personality to come here, Terry Wogan, Dara Ó Briain, Bono, Ronan Keating and Graham Norton were the names most commonly mentioned. In addition, over 20% of respondents said the visit of Queen Elizabeth earlier this year would influence them to come and visit Ireland.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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.
• Approximately 6.6 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 45 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.