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09 Apr 2014

Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain sign new partnership agreement

Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two tourism agencies at key time for tourism growth

Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain today announced a new agreement to boost tourist numbers from long-haul markets such as China and India. 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, and Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain. The announcement was made in London, at a business event, organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce to mark this week’s State Visit of President Michael D Higgins to Britain. 

Under the agreement, Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain will work more closely together – particularly in long-haul markets outside of Europe and North America – to promote the island of Ireland and Great Britain as destinations to be visited as part of a single holiday. 

The aims of the MoU are twofold: to align the work of both agencies, combining their activities in markets where appropriate; and to increase visitor numbers and revenue to both the island of Ireland and Great Britain from long-haul markets. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We already enjoy a very good working relationship with our colleagues in VisitBritain. However, under this new, mutually beneficial agreement, we look forward to working even more closely with them. 

“For the island of Ireland, the majority of our overseas visitors come from Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new tourism markets, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which we believe will play an increasingly important role for travel and tourism. Given that visitors from these markets are travelling considerable distances, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense for Tourism Ireland to co-operate with VisitBritain – to target people travelling to Britain and encourage them to visit the island of Ireland as part of their trip, and vice versa.”

Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain, said: “We have ambitious targets to encourage record numbers of visits to Britain from long-haul, high-spending markets such as China and India – as do our colleagues at Tourism Ireland. This new partnership aims to capitalise on opportunities by aligning our work and marketing activities in these countries where appropriate.” 
In practical terms, new ways of working under the MoU will include:
  • Joint planning: annual planning meetings will be held among the VisitBritain and Tourism Ireland head offices and market-based teams, to align calendars and agree events and activity programmes for the following year.
  • Sharing of data: VisitBritain and Tourism Ireland will share all relevant market data and insights, to ensure full understanding of market opportunities and conditions. Options to share research projects, and therefore costs, will also be investigated. 
  • Sales missions: Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain will share whole, or parts of, sales missions, where feasible. The organisations may also share common elements of other activities e.g. workshops, networking receptions and sales calls. 
  • Shows and events: Where Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain participate in the same trade shows and events, consideration will be given to sharing stand space and other costs, where applicable. 
  • Media: Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain will collaborate on joint press events, where appropriate, and offer joint familiarisation visits for relevant media, as opportunities arise.
  • Travel trade: Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain will also collaborate on joint familiarisation visits for relevant travel trade from long-haul markets, where appropriate and as opportunities arise. 

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
  • In 2013, an estimated 8 million overseas visitors will have come to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.

Previous Press Release

08 Apr 2014

Ireland says ‘bonjour’ in Bordeaux