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24 Feb 2012

Tourism Ireland targets 5 million French football fans

New partnership with top French football club Olympique Lyonnais to help target new audience of potential holidaymakers

From this weekend, over 5 million football fans around France will see Ireland holiday ads when they tune in to watch the home games of top French football club Olympique Lyonnais (OL).

This weekend marks the beginning of a new partnership between Tourism Ireland and OL, as part of Tourism Ireland’s ambitious efforts to grow visitor numbers from France this year. OL is one of the most popular football clubs in France with a huge following right across the country (and is the only French team left in this year’s Champions League). To capitalise on the huge exposure of the club’s home games, highly visible sideline ads for Ireland will urge French consumers to ‘vibrez au rythme de l’Irlande’ (part of Tourism Ireland’s brand new ‘Jump into Ireland’ campaign) from now until the end of the football season in May.

At least 5 million TV viewers will see these games over the coming months, including tomorrow’s highly anticipated clash between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris St-Germain, when they air on top French TV stations including Canal Plus, Orange and Sports Plus. In addition, about 40,000 spectators in the Stade de Gerland, OL’s home ground in Lyon, will see the ads for Ireland during each of the games. Tourism Ireland will also invite influential travel trade and media contacts from in and around Lyon to attend tomorrow’s game, reminding them about all the great reasons to visit Ireland – including ease of access, with year-round flights from Lyon to Dublin with Aer Lingus.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “This latest promotion is a good example of how Tourism Ireland is looking for fresh ways to reach potential visitors to Ireland, especially new ones. I’m particularly pleased to see Irish tourism promoted in connection with top-level sport – something that really brings home that Ireland is an active and fun destination. Competition from rival tourism markets is getting ever more intense, so we need to constantly look at how best we can promote Ireland as a tourism destination.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “France is Ireland’s fourth largest overseas tourism market. Following our extensive review of the French market last year, Tourism Ireland has put an ambitious plan in place to increase the number of French holidaymakers by +40% over four years. We are targeting a number of new consumer segments which we believe have strong potential for growth, including a younger and more active audience – hence our partnership this spring with Olympique Lyonnais. French holidaymakers are younger than average and it is now easier than ever to get to the island of Ireland from all parts of France, including from Lyon with a year-round flight operated by Aer Lingus. Tourism Ireland is excited about seeking new opportunities to expand. Our new strategy will create a sense of urgency, to inspire French holidaymakers to ‘visit now’.”

While the island of Ireland holds strong appeal in the French market – with about 389,000 French visitors coming here in 2011 – Tourism Ireland plans to deliver even stronger growth in the coming years.

Previous Press Release

21 Feb 2012

On a mission to woo tourists from India