The largest ever mid-year overseas marketing drive was launched today by Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin T.D., in a bid to attract the maximum number of overseas visitors to the island of Ireland during the peak summer months.
The €20 million campaign, which is being rolled out by Tourism Ireland in Great Britain, the US and Mainland Europe, will focus on the excellent value available from the industry here. It will tap into the later-than-ever booking trend, which is more pronounced this year.
Tourism worldwide is experiencing another difficult year as the volatility in the global economy continues and consumer confidence remains fragile. CSO figures for the first two months of 2010 show a decline in visitor numbers to Ireland, in particular from Europe and Britain, with a less severe downturn from North America. The current disruption to air travel arising from the volcanic ash plume is causing additional concerns for tourism enterprises across the island.
Launching the €20 million marketing drive, Minister Hanafin said: “While 2010 continues to be a very difficult year, we still have everything to play for in terms of winning the business that is out there – over 60% of our overseas visitors arrive between May and September. We must get out there and fight for that business which is the lifeblood of this industry. Given the later-than-ever booking pattern across markets, we have real opportunities to persuade people who are just beginning to think about holidays and short breaks that this is the year to come to Ireland.”
The new marketing drive includes an extensive promotional campaign in key markets around the world, developed in conjunction with hundreds of tourism industry partners – hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, national cultural institutions, golf courses, independent visitor attractions as well as air and sea carriers – who have got behind the campaign with a superb range of value-for-money offers.
Tourism Ireland’s Chief Executive Niall Gibbons said that the special mid-year promotional drive represents an all-out concerted partnership effort between the agency and the industry. “This campaign is all about setting out our stall overseas, with a vast array of superb value-for-money offers. Every destination in the world is vying for business and we must stand out from the crowd with compelling, attractive, value-for-money offers that will win the consumer over. While consumer confidence remains fragile in some of our key markets, there is still a large number of consumers who plan on taking a holiday or short break over the coming months. We intend to win as much of that business as possible.
“The effects of the volcanic ash plume remain a key concern for the tourism industry on the ground. Flexibility and agility to respond to opportunities in the marketplace will be critical.”
Highlights of the €20 million marketing drive include:
• ‘Silver Surfer Summer Savings’ – a promotion of value offers for accommodation, visitor attractions, golf, horse and greyhound racing, eating out, etc for the two million ‘Sightseers and Culture Seekers’ in Great Britain aged 66 and over;
• New ‘value golf’ campaigns in Great Britain and all major markets in the run-up to the Solheim Cup, which takes place at Killeen Castle in September 2011;
• €5 million ‘Super Region’ campaigns for the West Coast/Shannon Catchment area, the Lakelands and the East regions – in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, Dublin Tourism and Shannon Development;
• Car touring promotions with six key ferry operators, encouraging visitors from Great Britain, Germany, France and other European markets to bring their own cars;
• €5 million co-operative marketing campaigns with major airlines and tour operators in all key markets, promoting great value access fares and holiday programmes. Tourism Ireland is mounting promotional campaigns with 30 major air and sea carriers in GB, Mainland Europe, North America and New & Developing markets;
• Value advertising campaigns will promote travel to Northern Ireland, with offers from local industry partners. A campaign will target German tour operators to increase exposure of Northern Ireland in their programmes, both on and offline;
• Partnership – Tourism Ireland will work with a minimum of 700 island of Ireland- and market-based partners, promoting the island overseas;
• Locals showcase ‘hidden gems’ – a new series of online ‘travelogues’ featuring characters, ‘hidden gems’ and places to visit has just gone live on Tourism Ireland’s suite of 41 websites. The Causeway Coast, Tipperary, Sligo, Cork city, Tyrone and Armagh, as well as Belfast and Dublin, feature in the short films which are being promoted right now on Yahoo! where they have already been viewed by over 200,000 people around the world.
Tourism Ireland Chief Executive with Minister Mary Hanafin at the announcement of a €20 million mid-year overseas marketing drive.
For further press information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027