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23 Sep 2012

Festival focus for Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign

€19 million promotional blitz targets potential holidaymakers around the globe

Tourism Ireland has launched a €19 million promotional campaign, aimed at boosting late-season travel to Ireland from around the globe this autumn and teeing up ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. The period September to December traditionally yields as much as 30% of overseas tourism business.

The campaign will highlight the many festivals and events taking place right around the island this autumn – from the Dublin Festival Season (which includes the Absolut Fringe Festival, Arthur’s Day and the Dublin Theatre Festival), to the Belfast Festival at Queens (which this year celebrates the important milestone of its 50th anniversary), Wexford Festival Opera, Westport Food Festival, Cork Jazz Festival and the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.

The campaign – which is being rolled out in Great Britain, the United States, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets – will incorporate a major focus on city breaks as well as on attracting visitors to more rural parts of Ireland over the coming months. Highlights of the activity include co-operative promotions with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aer Arann; TV, radio, print and online advertising; as well as extensive PR and social media activity.

From October onwards, Tourism Ireland’s promotions will look to next year and the exciting programme of events in the pipeline for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. The organisation will extend an invitation to the tens of millions of people of Irish descent across the world to ‘come home’ to Ireland next year – as well as to the many others who feel linked by friendship, business or education and to those who simply hold an affection for what Ireland has given to the world. Tourism Ministers Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring will be working with Tourism Ireland over the coming months to promote ‘The Gathering’ through roadshows in Great Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

In Great Britain alone, our largest and most important tourism market, Tourism Ireland’s promotions will reach in excess of 19 million potential holidaymakers this autumn, placing the spotlight on our festivals, music, literature and living culture and conveying the fun, friendliness and great things to do and see on a holiday or short break here.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “With the Gathering Ireland 2013 just a few months away this campaign will be significant in attracting tourists for next year. There’s also loads for visitors to see and do in the months ahead, and the autumn marketing campaign will do a great job in promoting late-season travel to Ireland. There’s still plenty of business to fight for at this time of year.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends in our target markets, as there is still everything to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a good opportunity with many world-class festivals and events happening around the island. In association with our tourism partners, we have enticing autumn/winter packages to offer, developed around festivals and themes such as food, music, literature and the arts.

“Tourism Ireland will also roll out a major programme of promotions to highlight the Gathering Ireland 2013 this autumn. We are extending an invitation to the tens of millions of people across the world who have ancestral links with Ireland to ‘come home’ next year. We are also calling on expatriates and those with an affinity for Ireland to get involved and organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland next year.”


Notes To Editors

Great Britain

  • Attractive city break packages are a key element of the autumn campaign in GB and a programme is also in place to attract car touring visitors.
  • TV: Tourism Ireland’s autumn TV ad campaign is now under way and will run until the end of October, reaching up to 19 million potential GB holidaymakers. From October, the TV ads will include an invitation to people everywhere around GB to come here for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. The ads are running on channels like ITV 1, 2 and 3, Channel 4 and a range of satellite channels.
  • Radio: 2.7 million radio listeners around Britain will tune in to a month-long promotion of the festivals, music and culture of Dublin and Belfast, on popular stations Smooth and Real Radio. DJ Simon Bates will host his show from both cities – with outside broadcasts from Bewleys on Grafton Street in Dublin and from Titanic Belfast. A further 5 million people will hear ads highlighting the Dublin Festival Season and Cork events like the Guinness Jazz Festival.
  • Cinema: images of Ireland will also be seen by about 1.25 million cinema-goers around GB this September, when a special 60-second ad is screened around big blockbuster films like Anna Karenina and The Sweeney.
  • Targeting the Diaspora: Advertising on relevant websites and in newspapers like the Irish World and the Irish Post will target the estimated six million people throughout GB claiming Irish descent or affiliations with Ireland.
  • Co-operation with carriers: a busy programme of co-operative campaigns with airlines – including Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aer Arann – as well as ferry operators is planned for this autumn, highlighting ease of access and great fares.
  • Promoting to the influential travel trade: influential GB coach and group tour operators have been invited by Tourism Ireland to workshops in Sligo and Belfast, where they will meet with representatives of the tourism industry here and negotiate for their 2013 programmes.
  • ‘Team Ireland’ blitzes shopping centres: tourism partners from around the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland in Manchester, in the busy Trafford shopping centre, and in Bristol, in the Cabot Circus shopping centre – highlighting great value breaks and holidays to shoppers.
  • The Goodwood Revival: for the first time ever, Tourism Ireland had a presence at The Goodwood Revival in Chichester this autumn. This is one of the largest vintage car festival events in Great Britain, attracting about 150,000 visitors, and offers a fantastic platform to spread the good news about car touring in Ireland.
  • World Travel Market: Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in November, with a major focus on ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013.  This year, about 60 Irish tourism enterprises, will join Tourism Ireland at WTM, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar.
North America
  • TV: Building on the tremendous success of the recent Notre Dame v Navy game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Tourism Ireland will run a high impact TV and online campaign with NBC in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia around this autumn’s Notre Dame games. The campaign will reach 7.5 million viewers, highlighting ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ with a new 30-second ‘Gathering’ ad.
  • Magazines and online: 4 million Americans will see full-page Ireland ads and full-page features in travel, thought leader and epicurean magazines, including The New Yorker, Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit and AFAR. Millions more will see Tourism Ireland’s internet TV campaign – with TV ads and video footage of Ireland running on premium digital channels such as FOX, MSN, NBC, Bravo and History Channel, as well as on various travel and cooking channels. Ireland offers will also appear on high profile sites such as Travelzoo, Sherman’s Travel, Fodors and New York Times Getaways, reminding potential holidaymakers about the great value airfares and vacation packages available.
  • Targeting the Diaspora: Radio, print and online ads will target 13.5 million Americans of Irish descent in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • ‘Enabler’ events promote ‘The Gathering’: Tourism Ireland will engage with key ‘enablers’ throughout the US and Canada this autumn – such as business networks, clans, cultural and sporting associations, Irish clubs and societies – to encourage them to promote ‘The Gathering’ to their networks and to mobilise their members to organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland next year. Tourism Ireland has organised ten major ‘enabler’ events for this autumn, which will take place in cities with a large Diaspora population, including Boston, New York and Chicago.
  • Social media: a fun “How Irish are you?” competition on Tourism Ireland’s Facebook page will also target the Diaspora around the US this autumn (Tourism Ireland has more than 238,000 fans) with a series of questions such as “do you know what hurling is?”, “do you know how to kiss the Blarney Stone?” or “have you read any James Joyce?”. Answers will determine if the respondents are truly Irish and offer them a chance to win a trip to Ireland in 2013!
  • Publicity spotlight: Influential travel and lifestyle journalists will be invited to visit the island of Ireland this autumn. One of the highlights will be Rudy Maxa’s World radio show (Rudy is one of America’s most popular travel experts), which will broadcast live from Ireland on over 150 stations across the US, focusing on autumn festivals and ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
Mainland Europe
  • Germany: co-operative campaigns with Aer Lingus and Ryanair will run in newspapers and online, highlighting attractive autumn airfares and great reasons to visit. The campaign will target over 10 million readers living in and around cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Aachen. Tourism Ireland is also working with leading online travel agents in Germany (such as HRS, Holidaycheck and Unister) including a city breaks campaign on national TV stations in conjunction with Unister.
  • Travel media will be invited to visit Ireland this autumn, including a crew from public TV broadcaster Saarländischer Rundfunk, who will capture footage for a 30-minute programme all about Dublin.
  • Angling in Ireland will be promoted to about 500,000 readers of specialist fishing magazine Blinker; and online, on the popular fishing website A four-page supplement about walking in Cork and Kerry will be circulated to 500,000 readers of the November edition of Panorama magazine, the official publication of the largest German walking association.
  • France: city breaks in Dublin and Belfast will be promoted on key travel and lifestyle websites, targeting an urban, young (aged 25-45 years) audience. City breaks in Cork will be promoted with leading online travel agent Opodo and through email marketing to about 650,000 people around France. Tourism Ireland will also promote great hotel offers through other top French online travel agents, like VoyagePrivé.com (5 million subscribers) and ClubPrivé (almost 700,000 subscribers).
  • Over 2.3 million people living in and around Paris will see ads in titles like Direct Matin, A Nous Paris and Metro, in a campaign with Aer Lingus promoting flights from Paris to Cork and Dublin.
  • Scandinavia: Co-operative promotions with Aer Lingus in Scandinavia will highlight the new, daily Copenhagen to Dublin flight, which kicks off at the end of October; and the existing Stockholm to Dublin flight. Fifteen Irish tourism partners participated in Tourism Ireland’s three-day sales blitz in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, meeting and doing business with hundreds of influential travel trade and media contacts in the Scandinavian capitals.
  • Tourism Ireland will also showcase our rich literary heritage to the 100,000+ attendees at this week’s Gothenburg Book Fair in Sweden, the second largest book fair in Europe.
  • In Italy and Spain, Tourism Ireland will target the EFL (learning English as a Foreign Language) sector through email and SMS text marketing, as well as social media activity.

Australia and Developing Markets
  • Ten tourism partners from around the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for a ten-day sales mission to Australia and New Zealand this November.
  • Also in November, this year’s Melbourne Cup (Australia’s major horse race, known as “the race that stops a nation”) will have a special Dublin theme; sponsor airline Emirates has announced that its renowned Birdcage marquee will feature famous Dublin landmarks and Tourism Ireland will work with Emirates to capitalise on this promotion, highlighting Dublin and Ireland to thousands of race-goers.
  • President Michael D Higgins will undertake an official visit to South America in October and will highlight ‘The Gathering’ when he visits Chile, Brazil and Argentina.
  • Tourism Ireland and partners will also undertake a sales mission to China this autumn, meeting with about 60 top travel agents and tour operators, as well as with key travel and lifestyle journalists, in Beijing and Shanghai, through a series of workshops, presentations and networking events.