Tuesday 22 January 2008: The newly appointed Board of Tourism Ireland held its first board meeting in Coleraine today. Speaking after the meeting, Hugh Friel, new Chairman of Tourism Ireland, said that the promotion of the island of Ireland as a holiday destination is in full swing across the globe. “On the back of a record year for overseas tourism, all indicators point to a challenging year for overseas tourism in 2008. Global economic uncertainty, the weak dollar and a softening in consumer confidence generally all make for a more difficult business environment. Every year brings new challenges and I am confident that working in close partnership with the industry we can overcome these hurdles and succeed in growing tourism again this year. It will be more crucial than ever however, that our tourism product and service is top class and above all that the consumer gets value for money” said Friel.
A key focus for Tourism Ireland in 2008 is to progress the findings of the review of the Ireland tourism brand carried out last year which will culminate with the production of a new marketing campaign in time for 2009. “The review confirmed yet again that “People and Place” remain the primary differentiators over other destinations when it comes to visitors choosing Ireland as a holiday destination.
However, it also confirmed that, in this highly competitive global marketplace, the Ireland brand will need to differentiate itself even more strongly if we are to deliver the required growth in overseas revenue and visitor numbers. What emerged from tourists’ comments, beyond their basic holidays needs, was the desire to have unique experiences which they can go back and tell others about. “The island of Ireland today has that in spades and we will bring a new focus to our brand expression with an emphasis on ‘the island of unique Character and Characters” concluded Hugh Friel.
Mr Hugh Friel, Chairman
Ms Ciara Boyle, Vice Chairman
Mr Tom McGrath CBE, Chairman, NITB
Mr Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive, George Best Belfast City Airport
Mr Robert Manson, Solicitor
Mrs Moira McNamara, Director, Mercer Accommodation Group
Mr Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland
Mr David Lyle, Chief Executive, Lyle Bailie International
Mr Bill McGinnis CBE, Chairman, McAvoy Group Limited
Mr John Power, Chief Executive, Irish Hotels Federation
Mrs Mandy Martin, Director, Park Avenue Hotel
Ms Ann Riordan, Chairman, Dublin Tourism
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland, tel: 028 7035 9260/ 07766 527719
Sonya Cassidy, Weber Shandwick, tel: 028 9076 1007/ 07770 886949