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18 Sep 2013

Tourism Ireland launches £15.7 million autumn campaign

£15.7 million promotional blitz targets late-season travellers around the world

Tourism Ireland has launched a £15.7 million promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world during the last few months of 2013 and to tee up major events coming up in 2014. The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of overseas tourism business. 

The campaign will highlight the many festivals and events taking place right around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland this autumn – from the Belfast Festival at Queens and the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Derry~Londonderry to Belfast Music Week. 

An extra-special focus will be placed on the last few months of the Derry~Londonderry 2013 UK City of Culture programme – including the annual Hallowe’en carnival, the staging of the prestigious Turner Prize and the Conquest of Happiness production. 

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 areas over the coming months. 

Highlighting direct flights and ferry services to Northern Ireland remains a priority for the autumn season and a number of co-operative campaigns are running in GB – using radio, print advertising and social media – to promote routes and attractive fares with partners like Ryanair, Aer Lingus and British Airways. In addition, a TV campaign in Scotland is promoting Stena Line’s routes to Belfast. Radio ads in Scotland and social media activity also will highlight P&O’s routes and packages.   
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: “Despite a busy summer, it is important that we don’t lose momentum as we head into autumn and Tourism Ireland’s new marketing campaign showcases all that we have to offer. It uses a variety of different approaches including PR, TV, online and social media to get the message out there that Northern Ireland really is a spectacular place to discover in autumn.

“By showcasing all of our wonderful attributes, be it historic castles, vibrant cities, spectacular countryside or our beautiful coastline, we will continue to work to deliver more visitors from key markets like Germany, France and the US.

“Whatever the season, visitors can be assured of a warm welcome and a choice of activities from culture and creativity to mountain biking and hill walking in some of the most stunning scenery in the world.”

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 plenty of business 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 here. 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.

“In addition, Tourism Ireland is bringing in more than 120 top overseas tour operators this autumn to meet with hundreds of tourism businesses across the island and negotiate inclusion in their 2014 programmes”,  he added.

Notes To Editors

Highlights of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign around the world include:

Two distinct campaigns will reach our new target segments in GB: ‘social energisers’ (a young, fun-loving audience) and the ‘culturally curious’ (an older group, interested in exploring new landscapes, history and culture). Activity includes:

Targeting Culturally Curious

  • Cinema: 3.6 million cinema-goers will see Tourism Ireland ads this autumn – on pop-up outdoor screens in advance of films like Casablanca and Some Like it Hot; and in selected cinemas before films such as About Time and Austenland. 
  • Targeting 3 million Telegraph readers: Inserts featuring Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture and The Gathering Ireland will be distributed with the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph this autumn, reaching almost 3 million people.
Targeting Social Energisers
  • Around Belfast in 48 hours: Two GB tourists will get the chance to experience an action-packed 48 hours in Belfast this autumn, as part of a social media promotion called ‘Belfast 48’. The intrepid travellers will be selected from wannabee explorers who enter a competition and will be voted for by our Facebook community. The pair will spend a whirlwind 48 hours sampling Belfast, all the time posting on the Tourism Ireland GB Facebook page and Twitter feed, to share their adventures with the organisation’s fans and followers around Great Britain.
  • Bestival and XFM: Tourism Ireland has been targeting festival-goers from all over Great Britain in conjunction with Bestival – the boutique music festival on the Isle of Wight – and popular radio station XFM, targeting the station’s 975,000 listeners. The initiative presents Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as an exciting, vibrant and modern destinations to get that young, fun-loving audience to look at a city break in Belfast or Dublin with fresh eyes. 
  • Video-on-demand ads: Tourism Ireland TV ads will reach this audience through ITV Player, 4 On Demand, YouTube and other online platforms.

Other promotional activity in GB this autumn includes:
  • Gearing up for Giro d’Italia 2014: Tourism Ireland will capitalise on the tourism potential of the prestigious Giro d’Italia 2014 with a busy programme of promotions during this month’s Tour of Britain cycle race – which includes highly visible advertising along the race route, footage of Northern Ireland on the official race website and an appearance by a stunt bike team at one of the final stages of the race to highlight next year’s Grande Partenza (or ‘Big Start’).
  • Co-operation with partners: A busy programme of co-operative campaigns with carriers – including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Ryanair, Stena and P&O – is in the pipeline for this autumn. Campaigns will also be undertaken with online travel agents like Secret Escapes, Expedia,, Lastminute and eBookers – to drive bookings during September and the rest of the year.
  • Promoting to the influential travel trade: Influential GB coach and group tour operators have been invited by Tourism Ireland to workshops in Belfast and Waterford, where they will meet with representatives of the tourism industry here and negotiate for their 2014 programmes.
  • The Goodwood Revival: Once again, Tourism Ireland had a presence at The Goodwood Revival in Chichester this autumn. This is one of the largest vintage car festival events in GB, attracting about 150,000 visitors, and offered a fantastic platform to spread the good news about car touring holidays around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland will also attend the Classic Motor Show in Birmingham in November – the most popular car exhibition in GB.
  • World Travel Market: Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in November. This year, about 60 tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland at WTM, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar.

North America
  • Targeting ‘Young Independent Travellers’: A new, extensive online campaign will run in the US this autumn, with ads appearing on a variety of popular food, lifestyle, entertainment and travel websites – targeting a younger, independent traveller, typically aged 25-35 years. This segment was identified in the recent US market review, as offering potential for future growth. 
  • TV ads will run in October on national cable television, around relevant programmes which appeal to our target audience.  
  • 2.5 million readers will see full-page Tourism Ireland ads, with accompanying full-page advertorial features, in the September editions of glossy magazines Afar, Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure – which have a combined circulation of 2.5 million.
  • Ads will run online and in newspapers in the San Francisco area this October, to highlight the new Aer Lingus flight for 2014 between San Francisco and Dublin. 
  • Co-operative activity with American Airlines will include ads and feature articles in American Way (inflight magazine), ads in Celebrated Living (onboard publication for first and business class passengers), as well as 30-second ads running on tablets during first and business class flights. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s sponsorship of the hugely popular Downtown Abbey on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service – a non-profit public TV network with about 350 member stations right across the US) will continue this autumn, around the re-run of series three, ahead of the launch of series four in early 2014. 
  • Publicity spotlight: Influential travel and lifestyle journalists from the US and Canada have been invited to visit Northern Ireland this autumn – including a TV crew from Occupation Double, a popular French-Canadian reality TV show which will film in Belfast in September. 
  • ‘Jump’ travel trade and media blitz in California: Tourism Ireland and industry partners have been ‘pounding the pavements’ in the US and Canada this year, through a series of sales blitzes, targeting hundreds of travel agents in key cities. The schedule continues into the autumn – this time taking in San Diego and Santa Barbara in California –  providing an excellent opportunity for the participating tourism partners from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland to showcase their product to the key decision-makers they meet in those cities.
  • Business Tourism: Thirty tourism partners from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland will travel to Las Vegas in October, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s IMEX (International Meetings and Events Exhibition) America, a three-day show which targets decision-makers in the lucrative MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) industry. 
  • And, Tourism Ireland will also highlight Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as a world-class business destination to more than 2,500 of the top meetings and incentive planners based right across the United States, this autumn, through a new direct marketing campaign. 

Mainland Europe
  • Germany: 10 million potential visitors in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich will see online advertising with Aer Lingus, highlighting attractive airfares and great reasons to visit this autumn; co-op activity with Ryanair will also promote city breaks and major festivals; and Tourism Ireland will also work with leading German online travel agents, such as Expedia and Opodo.
  • Approximately 70 top travel media will be invited to visit Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland this autumn, including a crew from TV channel SAT.1 (1 million viewers).
  • France: A campaign with Ryanair will run in newspapers and online, in all major French cities this autumn; city breaks will be promoted with leading online travel agents Opodo and Go Voyages, and with Aer Lingus. 
  • Tourism enterprises from around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for this year’s IFTM (International French Travel Market), which takes place in Paris at the end of September. IFTM is the largest travel trade exhibition in France, attracting almost 30,000 visitors each year including influential tour operators and travel agents, as well as business tourism decision-makers and leading French travel media. 
  • Spain: Online advertising on key websites this autumn will promote city breaks. Co-operative promotions will be undertaken with Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Iberia Express and with major online travel agents like Rumbo and Logitravel; and radio ads and outdoor ads in Madrid metro stations, in conjunction with leading Spanish tour operator Viajes el Corte Inglés, will also help boost travel in the last quarter. 
  • Italy: Radio ads, email marketing and co-op activity with leading online travel agents, as well as print and online campaigns with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, will highlight ease of access and great value offers, pushing late-season travel from Italy to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. The EFL (learning English as a foreign language) sector will also be targeted – in Italy and Spain – through social media activity. And a busy programme of PR, publicity, social media and online activity will begin to build excitement about the ‘Grande Partenza’ of next year’s Giro d’Italia.
  • Scandinavia: Seven Swedish golf pros have been invited to play Royal County Down (both courses) and Ardglass this autumn; the pros are important influencers who organise golf breaks and holidays overseas for their members each year. Also, co-op promotions will be undertaken with Norwegian, and well-known Scandinavian online travel agents like Resfeber. 

Australia and Developing Markets
  • Tourism Ireland in Australia will co-operate with various travel partners like Etihad, Flight Centre (Australasia’s largest retail travel agency group), CIE Tours International and Trafalgar – through print and online advertising campaigns, as well as in-store promotions.
  • Also in Australia, Tourism Ireland – together with Emirates and Avis – will highlight our world-class golf, as well as driving holidays around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, at an Ireland Golf Day in Sydney this September, with about 70 leading Australian travel trade and media in attendance.
  • Tourism Ireland will undertake its largest-ever sales mission to China in November. Twenty-four tourism partners from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland will travel to China, to meet and do business with more than 100 top travel agents and tour operators, as well as key travel and lifestyle journalists, in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – involving a week-long series of workshops, presentations and networking events.
  • Ten tourism partners from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for a sales mission to South Africa, also in November, taking in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • Tourism Ireland will launch the Chinese and Indian versions of this autumn; online advertising campaigns will run in both countries from September to November to highlight the new and improved site – targeting leisure travellers living in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou (in China); and Mumbai and Delhi (in India). 
  • A Developing Markets workshop will take place in Northern Ireland in October, when Tourism Ireland will invite 45+ influential travel trade contacts from China, India, the GCC, South Africa, Brazil and Russia to meet and do business with approximately 90 tourism operators from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland.