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23 Oct 2012

New report maps ‘Path to Growth’ for island of Ireland tourism in Britain

Possible extra 200,000 visitors a year if cross-industry plan implemented

The Tourism Recovery Taskforce – which includes representatives from Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation and other industry members – today published a significant new strategy to revitalise performance in the British market. The report, GB Path to Growth, sets out a new plan for restoring growth from the island of Ireland’s largest source market – Great Britain – by identifying areas of best potential growth and recommending that future marketing and development plans be focused intensely on these.

The taskforce is confident that the implementation of all elements of this strategy will restore growth from the GB holiday market to the island of Ireland.  Leading tourism experts, Oxford Economics, have estimated that growth could be close to 5% per annum during the period 2013-2016. This would represent cumulative growth of almost 20%, or close to 200,000 additional annual GB visitors, which would exceed the general outlook for travel in Britain.

Informed by an exhaustive review of the island of Ireland and its competitors’ performance in the British market, the report identifies three potential growth segments of the GB market. It recommends the packaging of our holiday experiences which are tailor-made for their particular tastes, allied with a new marketing strategy specifically targeting this trio of best prospects.

Speaking today as he received the taskforce’s report, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD said: "While we have seen encouraging growth in our US and European markets, and our long-haul markets are breaking records, the British market has not bounced back. Much of this relates to the depressed British economy with fewer Britons taking overseas holidays now than they did ten years ago. Nonetheless, Great Britain is our nearest neighbour and remains the single biggest source of visits to Ireland. While its importance is likely to diminish in the long term relative to other markets, in the short term it remains crucial to our efforts to boost the Irish tourism industry. This valuable report presents some real food for thought. I want to commend the tourism industry and the tourism agencies for working together on this report to which I will give full consideration in due course."

The report found that some of the issues affecting the island of Ireland’s performance in the GB market include a perception that there is a lack of iconic experiences to motivate British travellers to visit. The report also found that the British holidaymaker has a lack of familiarity with the geography of the island as well as a belief that this destination is ‘olde worlde’ and unchanging, so there is no urgency about visiting.

Examining those destinations which are successfully attracting GB visitors, the report finds that best destinations actually have an identifiable audience and cleverly focus on well-defined groups of potential visitors. Therefore, the Taskforce has devised a new consumer segmentation model for the British market and has identified those segments which offer the best prospects for growth in 2013 and 2014.

The three most promising segments are:
  • Social Energisers (young, fun-loving urban adventurers);
  • Culturally Curious (over 45s who want to broaden their minds); and
  • Great Escapers (younger couples who want to get away from it all).

Based on these targeted potential visitors, the report recommends new product development and marketing strategies for the GB market which will have a much sharper focus on specific and compelling experiences that match the needs, interests and motivations of these three target segments.

Vivienne Jupp, chairperson of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, today emphasised: “Regaining our market share in Britain will require consistent and concerted action across the tourism industry if this report is to have the greatest impact possible.

“The tourism agencies will continue to work collaboratively to align their approaches. Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board will create iconic experiences that can only be enjoyed on the island of Ireland to match the core desires of the audiences that have now been identified and prioritised. Tourism Ireland will develop new communications plans designed to target those three target audiences.”

The full report can be accessed on the website of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC):


Notes To Editors

Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland 087-685 9027
Alex Connolly, Fáilte Ireland 086-796 6320

Previous Press Release

22 Oct 2012

Belgian travel agents sample Ireland’s delights