Tourism Ireland discusses 2013 season with local tourism operators
Senior managers of Tourism Ireland were in Limerick today – meeting with some of the key players working in the tourism industry in Limerick, Clare and the Mid West region. They discussed the 2013 season to date and the extensive promotional programme which Tourism Ireland has in place to highlight the Mid West and the island of Ireland around the world this year.
Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland’s director of markets, said: “We are delighted to be in Limerick again today, to have the chance to meet with representatives of the tourism industry from the Mid West and to hear directly how their businesses are doing this year. Our meetings will also afford us the opportunity to discuss the extensive promotional programme which Tourism Ireland is undertaking this year across the globe. We have a major focus on The Gathering, which is a fantastic ‘hook’ for us to highlight Ireland. We are extending an invitation to the millions of people everywhere who have ancestral links with Ireland to ‘come home’ this year; our message is that there has never been a better year to visit.”
Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight Limerick around the world this year includes:
• Limerick ‘Gatherings’
The Gathering Ireland has been a major focus of Tourism Ireland promotions around the world for the past 18 months. So far this year, 173 Limerick ‘Gatherings’ have been confirmed.
• Co-operative promotional campaigns to boost travel from the United States to Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport is an important gateway to this region. Tourism Ireland has been working hard throughout 2013, and for many years, to increase the number of flights to Shannon; and subsequently to drive demand for those services, through co-operative marketing campaigns in conjunction with Shannon Airport, major airlines and other partners. Examples include:
an online and print advertising campaign in the United States this spring, in conjunction with Aer Lingus – to promote attractive fares for summer travel to Shannon Airport from the gateway cities of New York, Boston and Chicago;
- an online and print ad campaign, in conjunction with United Airlines, to promote the new Chicago to Shannon service which began in June; Tourism Ireland ads appeared in Red Eye, a daily Chicago newspaper, reaching some 180,000 readers this spring, with messages about the new, convenient access to Shannon and the many great things to see and do in this part of Ireland;
- a similar campaign was undertaken by Tourism Ireland in partnership with US Airways, to highlight the Philadelphia to Shannon service, which began in May of this year;
- Tourism Ireland’s promotions in the US this autumn will include online advertising on key websites – to drive bookings during the November to March period and to highlight the new year-round flights to Shannon from Boston (beginning in January 2014) and from New York (beginning in March 2014);
- in France, Tourism Ireland is working with online tour operator, Go Voyage, encouraging late-season travel and promoting the Go Voyage charter flights to Shannon – from Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, Marseille and Nantes;
- and in Great Britain, Tourism Ireland will undertake campaigns this autumn with partners like Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus Regional – to highlight ease of access to Shannon.
• Influential international travel writers visit Limerick
Tourism Ireland has invited a number of influential travel and lifestyle journalists to visit Limerick this year – so they will encourage prospective holidaymakers to come here, through their articles, broadcasts or blogs. A recent example includes the visit of Mr FAN Yibo, China’s number one travel blogger (also known as ‘Map of Seven Colours’ on Sina Weibo – a major Chinese social networking site), who was in Limerick earlier this month. He stayed in the Strand Hotel on the Ennis Road and visited places like Adare, King John’s Castle and Bunratty Castle.
Also this summer, a TV crew from the state-owned Russian television channel, My Planet, visited Limerick and filmed scenes for a television show, called Dancing Planet. The TV series involves presenter and professional dancer/choreographer Aleksandr Pukhov travelling to various countries around the world, in a quest to discover more about the culture of each country through its music and dance. They filmed some of this year’s Munster Fleadh (Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan) at the University of Limerick and met the fleadh secretary, Majella Bartley; they stayed in the Strand Hotel on the Ennis Road. The episode filmed in Limerick will air in Russia this September.
• Limerick tourism enterprises join Tourism Ireland at trade fairs and promotions around the world
A number of Limerick tourism enterprises have joined Tourism Ireland during 2013, promoting the city and its hinterland at various consumer and travel trade fairs, and as part of travel trade missions, around the world. These have included representatives of Adare Manor (at the PGA Golf Show in Orlando, Florida); Shannon Airport (at ITB in Berlin); and Limerick Travel (who took part in the Tourism Ireland trade mission to Moscow and St Petersburg).
• Leading international tour operators visit Limerick
Tourism Ireland has also invited some of the leading travel agents and tour operators from around the world to visit Limerick this year – to ensure that this part of Ireland features in their programmes and brochures and that they will sell the destination with as much enthusiasm as possible. These have included visits by the staff of Vela Tours, one of the main tour operators selling Ireland in Italy; and by a group of 15 Russian travel agents, in early 2013.