Tourism Ireland begins its tourism drive for 2009 this week in Japan, as part of a trade mission led by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen. With an estimated population of 127 million, Japan is an important developing market for Irish tourism. Visitors from New and Developing Markets such as Japan are important for Irish tourism as they stay longer, have a higher propensity to travel throughout the island of Ireland and spend more than the average visitor.
Mr Cowen today briefed top Japanese travel trade and media representatives in Tokyo, about the attractions of the island of Ireland as a holiday destination. He is in Japan as part of a five-day trade mission and took the opportunity to meet with key influencers from the world of travel and tourism, as part of Tourism Ireland’s drive to attract more high-spending Japanese visitors to Ireland.
Paul O’Toole, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “The bulk of overseas tourists to the island of Ireland continue to come from core markets, such as Great Britain, Mainland Europe and North America, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to opportunities presented in long haul markets, such as Japan.
“There were approximately 16 million outbound travellers from Japan in 2008. Great Britain is already one of the most popular European destinations and it makes sense for Tourism Ireland to target those Japanese visitors who travel to Great Britain or to Europe, to encourage them to visit Ireland as part of their trip”, he said.
Significant groundwork has already been undertaken in the market in recent years by Tourism Ireland and prior to that by Bord Fáilte. “The island of Ireland is well known in Japan and is a destination that many Japanese aspire to visit. The challenge for us is to move them along the decision-making process and convert ‘lookers’ to ‘bookers’”, said Paul O’Toole.
The Japanese market also offers significant Business Tourism potential - for meetings, incentive and conference travel - and this market segment will be a key focus for Tourism Ireland in 2009. A new Business Tourism brochure is being launched, to promote Ireland’s rapidly developing Business Tourism product, including the new Convention Centre Dublin; and key incentive travel decision-makers will be invited to visit the island of Ireland during 2009, to experience the product at first-hand for themselves. An Taoiseach’s visit will help to spearhead a new drive to target those high-spending Japanese travel consumers.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027