Tourism Ireland today launched its 2010 marketing strategy and plans to restore overseas tourism to growth next year. The event was attended by Minister for Arts Sport & Tourism, Martin Cullen TD and tourism industry leaders. Tourism Ireland plans to grow visitor numbers to the island of Ireland by +3% next year – attracting an additional 230,000 visitors – giving a 2010 target of 7.85 million. This outcome will mean that tourism to the island of Ireland will grow ahead of the competition.
Marketing investment will be refocused to generate immediate returns for the tourism industry. Investment will be concentrated in Britain and in Germany, based on research which identifies these markets as our best prospects. Tourism Ireland will also significantly increase its investment in promoting value offers.
Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “The Government fully recognises the important role that tourism can play in contributing to the country's economic recovery and is committed to continued investment in the sector as a priority in 2010. Tourism Ireland's global marketing plans which we are launching today are a key component in realising the potential of the many millions of people who will take holidays and short breaks in 2010. We want to capture as much of this business as possible for Ireland. I welcome the tactical marketing campaigns to target trade and consumers overseas, the impact of which was demonstrated this year, and also the new key promotions in business tourism, cultural tourism and the substantial increase in the number of overseas travel trade events and marketing programmes to be promoted jointly with the tourism industry worldwide next year.”
Speaking at the launch, Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: “2010 is about action to stem the decline and begin the return to growth for tourism from overseas. Tourism Ireland, in partnership with the tourism industry, will focus on getting short-terms wins. Value will be a key message for the hugely competitive markets in which we operate; and we’ll be highlighting the uniqueness of a holiday on the island of Ireland – the diversity of our culture and heritage and the friendliness of our people – to secure ‘stand out’ and differentiate ourselves in a very crowded marketplace.”
2009 has proved to be one of the toughest years for tourism to the island of Ireland and for tourism worldwide. One of the key factors affecting Ireland’s performance is its traditional reliance on Britain and North America, two markets which have suffered disproportionately from the economic downturn and weak currencies. In addition, air access worldwide declined significantly during 2009. Despite this, by year end Tourism Ireland anticipates that 7.6 million people will have visited the island of Ireland from overseas, generating approximately €3.7 billion in revenue; and there is some evidence that consumer confidence is beginning to improve, albeit slowly, providing a positive signal for 2010.
Tourism Ireland has set a target of +3% growth in visitor numbers for 2010, which is ambitious given that Tourism Economics (the leading providers of world tourism forecasts) is predicting a continuing decline in visitor numbers to the island of Ireland next year. “The World Tourism Organisation and Tourism Economics are suggesting continued uncertainty for 2010. However, Tourism Ireland believes that working together with the industry, we can deliver growth. The Irish tourism industry is among the most innovative and enterprising in the world and we have a superb product to offer but getting back to growth in the prevailing circumstances will require a collective effort on an unprecedented scale. Tourism Ireland is up for that,” said Niall Gibbons. Interest in holidaying on the island of Ireland is high among consumers in Tourism Ireland’s top markets. For example, Ireland ranks 5th out of 50 in GB, ahead of destinations like the US and New Zealand (source: Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index 2008).
“Battle for Britain”
Britain is the largest single market for tourism to the island of Ireland and following an in-depth review Tourism Ireland has produced a blueprint for the future, to restore growth from this important market. Some of the key actions from the review include a new focus on value; differentiating a holiday here from one in England, Scotland and Wales (our competitive set in GB); and re-engaging and re-energising the travel trade in GB.
Specifically, Tourism Ireland will:
• develop and implement a series of new price-led campaigns which will highlight the wide range of great value deals on offer. Tourism Ireland has just launched a new ‘value in Ireland’ brochure in GB, advising visitors where the best value can be found;
• be the first tourist board in Britain to launch a price-led TV campaign next year, due for broadcast in January 2010;
• make St Patrick’s Day one of the biggest consumer events in Britain in 2010, by creating a GB-wide programme of events and by building an innovative publicity and social media campaign; and will bring 100 Irish industry representatives to Britain to help create the ‘buzz’;
• deliver the message that Ireland offers unique holiday experiences through a range of high impact, innovative, ‘Ireland themed’ promotions which will include
- ‘filmed in Ireland: a celebration of film
- ‘written in Ireland’: a celebration of literature
- ‘born in Ireland’: a genealogical event
- ‘composed in Ireland’: a celebration of music
- ‘celebrated in Ireland’: showcasing our many festivals
• will aggressively target coach tour operators, group organisers, wholesalers, specialist and general operators through a programme of workshops and face-to-face events in 2010.
Overall, a minimum of €12.8 million will be invested in GB marketing in 2010 – which translates into at least a €1 million marketing spend on average each month.
Focus on Germany
Building on the success of the recent DERTOUR Reiseakademie (which saw 900 travel professionals from Germany attend the 2009 Travel Academy of leading tour operator DERTOUR in Killarney over a two-week period), Tourism Ireland will increase its investment in Germany in 2010 to capitalise on this market. Activity will include a national TV advertising campaign for the first time, as well as co-operative campaigns with carriers.
3,500 promotional opportunities for industry worldwide
Tourism Ireland has set up over 3,500 overseas marketing platforms for the industry to engage in next year – an increase of +20% over 2009. Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland, said: “2010 will be all about ‘closing the sale’. We’ll be making it easier for the tourism industry to join us in promoting overseas. We have set up over 3,500 marketing platforms, including many low-cost and free options. And we’ll be bringing more industry partners to the markets, to help us create an ongoing ‘buzz’ about Ireland. Our global website www.discoverireland.com received a record 10.9 million visits in the first ten months of this year, which is most encouraging and illustrates a continued strong interest in the island of Ireland, despite the challenging environment. We must convert that interest into sales in 2010”, said Niall Gibbons.
Further details of Tourism Ireland’s 2010 Overseas Marketing Plans can be found on www.tourismireland.com
Note to editors:
• By the end of 2009, Tourism Ireland anticipates that 7.6 million people will have visited the island of Ireland from overseas, generating approximately €3.7 billion in revenue.