Overseas visitors urged to ‘Jump into Northern Ireland’

01 Dec 2011

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster has unveiled plans to increase the number of overseas holidaymakers to Northern Ireland in 2012 by 20%.

The Tourism Ireland Marketing Plans, which include a new advertising campaign, were launched in Belfast today.

Television advertisements, to be screened in January with the tagline ‘Jump into Northern Ireland’, will feature a track from Snow Patrol’s latest album.

Additional radio, press, cinema and online advertising means the campaign will target 22 markets around the world with an estimated annual audience of 60million potential visitors.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: “Tourism Ireland is planning the most extensive programme of marketing activity and campaigns ever undertaken for Northern Ireland, and there has never been a better time to do so than in 2012. It is the year when Northern Ireland will take centre stage with new, iconic visitor attractions, unprecedented events and historic anniversaries.

“NI 2012 offers a unique opportunity to change perceptions and confidently put Northern Ireland on the global tourism map – and the signs are already encouraging. Statistics for the first six months of 2011 show an 11% increase in visitors from overseas with growth from all major markets, including the very important GB market.

“We must continue to capitalise on NI 2012 by maximising visitor numbers and ensuring that the momentum created by its positive legacy, and the associated growth in tourism, continues well beyond next year.”

Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 1.51 million overseas visitors will have come to Northern Ireland, representing a 6% increase over 2010. Revenue generated by overseas visitors is expected to be approximately £340 million, a 16% increase over last year.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2011 has seen significant growth in overseas tourism in the first six months and visitor numbers are forecast to reach 1.51 million for the year, a 6% increase on 2010.”

Tourism Ireland’s targets will see Northern Ireland welcoming 1.66 million overseas visitors in 2012; representing growth in total visitors of 10% and 20% in holidaymakers.

Niall Gibbons said: “We are on the cusp of a very exciting year for Northern Ireland. For Tourism Ireland, and all of us working in the tourism industry, next year will be all about harnessing the unprecedented opportunity presented by NI 2012.

“It will be a truly wonderful opportunity to confidently put Northern Ireland on the global stage in a completely new way, to capture and hold the focus of world attention for all the most positive reasons. The superb programme of new attractions, events and historic anniversaries taking place next year will stimulate interest in Northern Ireland and help define what makes us different and why overseas visitors should choose to come here.”

Tourism Ireland plans to significantly increase the numbers of Northern Ireland industry partners participating in promotions around the world for 2012, to help bring the distinctiveness of a Northern Ireland holiday to life for overseas consumers.

Arlene Foster added: “Belfast has already been voted one of the world’s Top 20 best places to visit next year by National Geographic’s ‘Traveller’ magazine and I have no doubt Northern Ireland will continue to achieve top billing as the exciting programme of events unfolds in the coming months.”


Notes to editors:

• Tourism Ireland’s Focus in 2012

Tourism Ireland has identified a number of strategic areas to underpin its promotional activity in 2012 and support the growth in overseas visitors in 2012 and beyond.

These include:
- Rolling out a brand new advertising campaign: The new ads will appear on TV in GB, France and Germany; in cinemas in GB and the US, Spain and Italy; on outdoor sites in GB; and online in every other market in which Tourism Ireland has a presence.

- Targeting our best prospects: Tourism Ireland will focus mainly on consumers who are interested in sightseeing and experiencing local culture. In certain markets, the organisation will also target consumers who engage in outdoor activities. The business tourism and golf sectors will also offer great opportunities in 2012.

- Focusing on top 4 markets: Tourism Ireland will focus on winning market share in the four key tourism markets of Great Britain, the US, France and Germany.

- Increasing sales opportunities: Tourism Ireland will increase the number of platforms on offer to Northern Ireland tourism industry partners, to help them ‘close the sale’ with potential visitors overseas. Co-operative campaigns will continue to highlight the increasing value that a holiday in Northern Ireland has to offer.

- Growing access: Critical to our overseas tourism performance in 2012 will be the level of air and sea access to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland will continue to work closely with airlines and ferry companies, ports and airports, to invest in case-making and co-operative promotional campaigns, to help sustain and grow demand.

• New Global Advertising Campaign

In 2012, Tourism Ireland will roll out a new advertising campaign across its 22 markets around the world. The brand new suite of ads – for TV, cinema, press, outdoor and online – will present Northern Ireland in a way that clearly differentiates us from our competitors, capturing the essence of a holiday here and highlighting our strengths – iconic experiences and warm, friendly people.

Research has shown that, in order to grow visitor numbers, we need to offer potential holidaymakers a more compelling reason to choose Northern Ireland. Research also shows that overseas consumers feel their daily lives lack a sense of wonder and joy and that, when it comes to choosing a holiday destination, they are looking for an authentic, stimulating experience that will leave them feeling replenished and uplifted. Northern Ireland is very well placed to deliver this type of holiday experience. The sheer diversity of our icons and activities, coupled with the engaging and welcoming nature of our people, leaves our overseas visitors with a lingering smile that lives long into the memory, helping to mark a holiday here as ‘special’. This combination provides a more energising and uplifting holiday than other destinations; in essence, this is what distinguishes Northern Ireland and gives us ‘stand-out’.

The tagline for the new TV advertising – ‘Jump into Northern Ireland’ – is designed to convey a sense of playfulness and to reflect the immersive nature of a holiday here.

• Online and Social Media

Tourism Ireland will also launch a new website in 2012 to enhance communications with potential holidaymakers across the world. The organisation will also harness the power of social media even more effectively and build on the success of its activity in this area during 2011; Tourism Ireland now has 550,000 fans on Facebook, making it the second most popular tourism board in the world on the popular social networking site, after Australia.

For press enquiries please contact DETI Press Office on tel: 028 9052 9604.
Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.


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