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26 Aug 2014

Promoting Mayo around the world

Tourism Ireland campaigns highlight Mayo and the West of Ireland to millions of potential holidaymakers

Millions of people around the world are seeing advertising and other promotions for Mayo and the West of Ireland this year.

Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of activity to build on the success of 2013 and continue to grow visitor numbers to Mayo and the West of Ireland in 2014. Priority markets are Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France, which together deliver almost three-quarters of all our overseas visitors; but promotions are also under way in 18 other markets across the world – including Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as new and emerging markets like China and India.

Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, said: “I am delighted to see the wonderful attractions and landscape of Mayo getting the attention they deserve around the world, with the help of Tourism Ireland and especially by the Wild Atlantic Way.  We know here in the county what a special place we have – and what friendly people – so I would urge everybody to play their part in bringing visitors here.  Of course we must make them welcome by giving them a great experience and value for money.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is placing a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way in its promotions around the world this year. We are highlighting the spectacular scenery of Mayo and the West of Ireland through TV, print and online advertising; on and through social media channels; at major international consumer and trade fairs; through familiarisation visits for influential travel agents, tour operators, as well as international travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers; and through our promotional material.

“Our aim is to spark peoples’ curiosity about the dramatic beauty of Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way, the wonderful towns and villages and the many activities on offer here – encouraging them to come and discover this part of Ireland for themselves.”

Examples of Tourism Ireland’s promotions to showcase Mayo this year include:

• Co-operative campaigns to boost travel to Ireland West Airport Knock
As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in visitor numbers. Tourism Ireland works hard to drive demand for flights to Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) and increase visitor numbers to Mayo and the West of Ireland, through co-operative marketing campaigns with airlines. Examples include:
-    this spring, Tourism Ireland in Frankfurt teamed up with Germanwings and IWAK – to highlight great airfares to Knock from Cologne. Seven hundred poster ads were prominently displayed at bus and tram stops in the two cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, grabbing the attention of commuters with attractive airfares and photos of the Wild Atlantic Way – reminding them why they should put Mayo and the West of Ireland on their holiday wish-list for 2014. The campaign also included a specially-created page on the website of Germanwings;
-    this summer, Tourism Ireland in Britain undertook a digital and radio campaign in Birmingham and Manchester with Flybe (this ran until mid-August), highlighting the Wild Atlantic Way and flights to Knock;
-    and in June, Tourism Ireland undertook a print ad campaign with Aer Lingus in Britain, which highlighted great fares from London to various Irish airports including IWAK.

•    Positive publicity for Mayo
In 2013, Tourism Ireland generated positive publicity for Mayo worth about €11.5 million (in equivalent advertising value) in key markets around the world – through media visits, press releases, e-newsletters and in-market media events.

Working with international travel, lifestyle and special interest media is an important element of Tourism Ireland’s overseas promotional programme. The organisation undertakes an extensive programme of familiarisation visits for influential travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from around the world, so that they will encourage prospective holidaymakers to come to Mayo and Ireland – through their articles, broadcasts or blogs about the destination. For example,
-    in May, Tourism Ireland invited ARD (a national German TV network, the equivalent of RTÉ) to film in Westport, for a TV documentary about the Wild Atlantic Way entitled Weltreisen (meaning ‘World Travel’). This aired in July and was seen by around one million people in Germany;
-    German journalist Bernd Taller, from Rute & Rolle (angling magazine), is in Mayo this week, researching an article about salmon fishing on the River Moy and pike fishing on Lough Conn;
-    at the beginning of August, Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth set off on the “challenge of her lifetime” – cycling the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 kms along Ireland’s western seaboard over a five-week period. She spent five days exploring – and then blogging about – Mayo. She stayed in the Stella Maris Country House Hotel, Bayview B&B (Belmullet), Achill Water’s Edge B&B and Cillcoman Lodge B&B in Westport. She has posted fantastic photos and video footage online e.g. sea kayaking at Downpatrick Head, at Blacksod Lighthouse near Belmullet, on Achill Island, outside the Gráinne Uaile pub in Newport, kayaking in Westport, sampling the chocolate at Marlene’s Chocolate Haven and even enjoying a spot of retail therapy at The Whyte House. She gave a special mention to the Great Western Greenway: “maybe the most pleasant section of this journey has been the one we did not share with cars, trucks and buses speeding past, but with other cyclists and pedestrians along the Great Western Greenway from Achill to Westport. This 40-kilometer scenic route follows the path of an old railway line, and is the place to bring family along for a bicycling adventure”.
-    in May, we invited four German journalists to fly in on the inaugural Germanwings flight from Cologne-Bonn to Knock. Their itinerary included visits to Belleek Castle in Ballina and the Céide Fields. They enjoyed sea-kayaking with Wavesweeper Sea Adventures, near Belmullet; and a walk from the Ionad Deirbhile Heritage Centre along the Mullet Peninsula, with local historian and guide Agatha Hurst. The group also visited Ballycroy National Park, Claggan Discover Point (a Wild Atlantic Way designated point near Bangor) and Achill Island, where they met with Siobhán Commerford, manager of Achill Tourism.

•    The Wild Atlantic Way on TV, social media and at major trade fairs
This year, Tourism Ireland is placing a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s first long-distance touring route. The Wild Atlantic Way is being promoted across a range of platforms including TV, print and online advertising; on and through social media channels; at major international consumer and trade fairs; through familiarisation visits for influential travel agents, tour operators, as well as travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from around the world; and through Tourism Ireland’s promotional material – our market guides and brochures.

•    Local tourism enterprises at promotions around the world
Each year, Tourism Ireland provides our Irish tourism industry partners with the opportunity to promote their business with us at about 60 major consumer and travel trade fairs and travel trade missions worldwide. A number of Mayo tourism enterprises have joined Tourism Ireland already in 2014, promoting the county around the world. These have included representatives of Westport House, Mount Falcon, Rock House Estate, Electric Escapes and Mayo County Council.

•    Showcasing Mayo’s festivals and events
Mayo’s many festivals and events are promoted on Tourism Ireland’s international website,, and through its social media channels (more than 2.1 million Facebook fans and 131,000+ followers on Twitter) including:
-    Westport Festival of Chamber Music (5-7 September);
-    WhistleBlast Quartet Family Festival, Belmullet (29-30 October);
-    The Legend of Gráinne Mhaol, a weekly show of traditional Irish music, song and dance, which takes place during the summer in the Hotel Westport (18 June-24 September);
-    Halloween Fest, Westport House (24-31 October).


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 visited 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, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.