Tourism Ireland will be targeting more than eight million Londoners this month to promote Ireland as a hassle-free holiday from the Olympic Games, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has confirmed.
The ‘Escape The Madness’ ad campaign from Tourism Ireland will target Londoners by presenting the island of Ireland as the ideal ‘escape’ destination during this busy time. This represents the first phase of a €0.5M campaign to promote Irish tourism during the Olympics.
Minister Ring explained: “While the Olympics will be a very exciting time in London, the event will inevitably draw huge crowds. Commuting and day-to-day life will become that bit more hectic for Londoners. Around 18 million extra journeys will be taken on the London underground between the opening ceremony on July 27th and the closing ceremony on September 9th. The Government, and Tourism Ireland, are using this opportunity to present the island of Ireland as the ideal escape destination during this busy time.”
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “This summer’s Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to showcase the island of Ireland. With a global audience of about 4 billion, this is the largest sporting event in the world and Tourism Ireland intends to maximise the tourism potential for Ireland of the games. The proximity of the games in London provides Tourism Ireland with a wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland as a top holiday and business destination.”
Over 8 million people living in London will see Tourism Ireland’s ‘escape the madness’ ad campaign this June. Ads will run on the London underground, highlighting the open spaces and lack of congestion in Ireland. Over 200 large ads will appear at different tube stations across the city, targeting frustrated commuters during morning and evening rush hours.
Ads will also appear in the Evening Standard, the popular free daily newspaper which is read by millions of commuters each day, again with a message urging people to ‘escape’ to the beautiful landscape and open spaces of Ireland. Aer Lingus ads will run at the same time in the Evening Standard with attractive fares from London – encouraging commuters to book that flight to Ireland and escape straight away. Tourism Ireland is also working with hostelbookers.com, promoting B&B and hostels stays in Ireland this summer.
Social media will also help create awareness of all the great things to see and do in Ireland. A campaign on Facebook (Tourism Ireland has almost 120,000 fans across GB) and Twitter (over 2,300 followers) will see Tourism Ireland post status updates on the Olympic Torch Relay in Ireland and messages about Ireland will be posted regularly before and during the games. The hashtag #Escapethemadness will be used to create lively conversations about Ireland on the social networks in GB.
A specially-created web page on discoverireland.com is also promoting the torch relay in Ireland, as well as the key sporting events and festivals taking place across Ireland this summer. And a ‘next door neighbours’ initiative in conjunction with the Arts Council is highlighting seven festivals – including the Cork Midsummer Festival, the Clonmel Junction Festival, Eargail Arts Festival, Galway Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Absolut Fringe and the Dublin Theatre Festival. These festivals are highlighted on discoverireland.com/gb.
A busy PR and publicity programme is also under way. A series of itineraries for the thousands of accredited and non-accredited media visiting London from across the globe has been developed, encouraging them to come here either before, during or after the games – with options of 24- and 48-hour trips to Dublin and Belfast; 72-hour visits to the west of Ireland and Northern Ireland; ideas for golf in Ireland; as well as information on the various festivals happening right around the island of Ireland this summer.
Tourism Ireland is working closely with key tour operators in all our overseas markets. The visa waiver scheme, launched in 2011, is being highlighted in our emerging markets like China and India. A print piece, outlining all the reasons to travel to Ireland this summer, called ‘Take a Leap in to Ireland’ has been distributed to tour operators. Tourism Ireland is also working with the official Olympics tour operators in a number of markets, to assist them in offering package extensions to Ireland for their clients who are attending the games.