Six leading journalists from France have been visiting Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group was made up of writers from various travel and lifestyle magazines and websites, as well as regional newspapers in France, with a combined audience of almost two million readers – or potential French holidaymakers for Ireland.
During their time here, the group heard all about the busy programme of events under way for this year’s Limerick City of Culture. Their action-packed itinerary – designed by Álainn Tours – included a walking tour of Limerick, with stops at the Milk Market and the Hunt Museum. They also enjoyed visits to King John’s Castle and Bunratty Castle. Their itinerary took them to the Kilbeggan Distillery, horse-riding in the Burren National Park, to the cookery school in Cloughjordan House in Co Tipperary and on a cruise on Lough Derg.
Tourism Ireland recently unveiled a new strategy to grow visitor numbers from France and Germany over the coming three years. The plan, ‘Germany and France – A Strategy for Growth’, sets out challenging and ambitious targets, which will see the number of French visitors to the island of Ireland grow to 512,000 (+17%) by 2016.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite this group of influential journalists to Ireland. Seeing is believing – so fact-finding visits like this are an extremely important element of our publicity and PR programme in France; they are a really effective way for us to get positive exposure for Ireland through the media, helping us to showcase the superb tourism experience on offer in Ireland to millions of potential French holidaymakers. 2013 was a record year for French visitors to Ireland and we are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. I am confident that our new focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in French visitors, between now and 2016.”
Over 19 million potential French holidaymakers have seen advertising for Ireland this spring. Tourism Ireland’s TV ads – featuring the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route – have been airing around prime time programmes on popular channels like FR1, France2 and France3, as well as on a number of satellite channels. Working closely with airlines and the travel trade in France is a key priority for Tourism Ireland; co-operative campaigns with carriers, including Irish Ferries, Brittany Ferries, Aer Lingus, Ryanair and EasyJet, are promoting flights and ferry services to Ireland. And about 13 million French commuters are seeing a major outdoor campaign in Paris metro stations right now, highlighting the island of Ireland and great value offers in conjunction with Go Voyages (a French online travel agent).
French journalists with Nandi O'Sullivan, Shannon Development (left); Anne Zemmour, Tourism Ireland (second left); Bernard Eucher-Lahon (fifth left) and Philippe Bagau de Warren (fifth right), both Álainn Tours; and Marie Brennan, Shannon Heritage (right), at King John’s Castle in Limerick.
Further media information:
Brian Swift, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01-476 3425
Notes 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.
• In 2013, we welcomed an estimated 8 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.