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01 Dec 2014

Tourism Ireland sets its sights on record year for Irish tourism in 2015

Tourism Ireland launches 2015 marketing plans

Ambitious targets will see overseas tourism deliver 10 million visitors and €5 billion for Irish economy in 2025

Tourism Ireland today launched details of its marketing plans to promote Ireland overseas in 2015 and beyond, at an event attended by Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and tourism industry leaders from around the country. The organisation aims to build on this year’s growth in overseas tourism and to welcome 7.74 million visitors to Ireland in 2015 – surpassing the previous record year of 2007. This figure will represent growth of +6% over 2014 and deliver almost €4 billion to the Irish economy (+7%) next year. In the longer-term, the aim is to welcome some 10 million visitors to Ireland in 2025, contributing €5 billion to the economy and helping to sustain about 250,000 jobs.

New TV ads – part of Tourism Ireland’s global advertising campaign, ‘Jump into Ireland’ – were also unveiled. The ads will launch in January 2015 in 22 markets around the world – on television, in cinema and online. The soundtrack for the ads is the hit single “Love Like This” by popular Dublin rock band Kodaline.

Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s strategy in 2015. The plans will see Tourism Ireland prioritise those markets that offer the best return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and revenue i.e. Britain, North America and Mainland Europe. Ireland’s ‘best prospect’ visitors will be targeted more closely – with distinctive holiday experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests and designed to trigger their ‘must go now’ impulses. Emerging markets of high potential will also be targeted, particularly China and India, where Tourism Ireland will highlight the new British-Irish Visa Scheme.

Important factors working in our favour for 2015 include new access developments; as well as consumer confidence, which is returning in our key source markets. The Ireland ‘brand’ or image abroad is strong; continued product investment enhances our offering overseas – particularly investment in the Wild Atlantic Way. Exchanges rates for sterling and the dollar are favourable; and the lower price of oil will help make air and sea routes more sustainable.

In 2015, Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its strength in digital and social media. The organisation is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook (about 2.65 million fans), number three on Twitter and number two on YouTube.

Promoting the Wild Atlantic Way will continue to be a major focus of Tourism Ireland’s activity around the globe next year; the organisation will also showcase Dubline, the new Dublin Discovery Trail. Next year marks 150 years since the birth of world-renowned Irish poet and Nobel laureate, WB Yeats, a colossus on the world literary stage and an important figure in the history of our country; Tourism Ireland will promote Yeats 2015 – particularly to its ‘culturally curious’ audience. And, next year has also been designated ID2015 (the year of Irish design), a showcase of the best of Irish design. This special year will help raise the profile of Irish design and designers and show how they reflect our unique culture, helping to give us ‘stand-out’ on the world stage.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “The international tourism marketplace is a competitive one so it is crucial that we show no signs of complacency where the increase in our overseas visitor numbers is concerned. We must continue to identify the most effective ways to attract tourists to Ireland, so that we can support the jobs we have in the sector and help create new ones in the future. Government policies, such as reducing the rate of the air travel tax to zero from April 2014 onwards and retaining the reduction of VAT at 9% on tourism-related services in Budget 2015, support this objective. Similarly, the focus we have placed on newer markets, such as China and India, through the introduction of the British-Irish Visa Scheme, encourages visitors from further afield in greater numbers.

“There is a direct correlation between tourism growth and good connectivity. The expansion of ferry services on the Irish Sea provided a major boost for tourism in 2014 and the promise of further expansion of air services in 2015 bodes well for the future. Continuing to offer distinctive holiday experiences that are tailored to specific markets, such as golfers and adventure tourists, will also help keep us ahead of the game. Building on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, developing a branding model for Dublin through the recently established Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance and developing a unifying tourism proposition for the south and east region will ensure that all parts of Ireland benefit from our tourism marketing strategy. I am always delighted to lend my support to the promotional efforts of all of our tourism agencies in the work that they do. And I am committed to the continuation of that support throughout 2015 and beyond.”


2014 performance

Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 7.3 million people will have visited Ireland in 2014, representing an +8.8% increase over 2013, with growth recorded from all market areas. Revenue generated by international visitors is expected to be approximately €3.7 billion, +10.9% increase over last year. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “2014 is set to be another record year for visitor numbers from North America, Germany, France and Spain, as well as from our long-haul markets. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated €280 million in equivalent advertising value.”

2015 and beyond
Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2015 will see Ireland welcome 7.74 million visitors, representing growth of +6% over 2014. Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “Following a successful 2014, ambitious targets have been set for 2015 and beyond. We will continue to place a major focus on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on Dubline (the Dublin Discovery Trail). We will promote specific themes, including ID2015 and Yeats 2015. And we will highlight the new British-Irish Visa Scheme in China and India, which will enable Chinese and Indian visitors to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa of either country.”

Access developments for 2015 include a new Aer Lingus flight from Washington DC to Dublin, a new United Airlines flight from Chicago, a new Transavia service from Paris, as well as other new air routes like a Finnair service from Helsinki and SAS flight from Gothenburg in Sweden.

  Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe (centre) with Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland (left), and Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2015

Notes To Editors

 

Tourism Ireland's Targets for 2015
      Republic of Ireland  2015/14
% change
Island of
Ireland
2015/14
% change
Total Visitors 7,743 +6% 9,108 +6%
(000s)        
Revenue
(€Millions)
3.950 +7% 4,592 +8%


  
Tourism Ireland’s Focus in 2015

Tourism Ireland has identified a number of strategic areas to underpin its promotional activity in 2015 and grow visitor numbers from overseas in 2015 and beyond. These include:
•    Focusing Resources
With resources more constrained than ever, for reasons that are well understood, Tourism Ireland will allocate resources strictly on the basis of market potential – with greatest investment in markets which deliver the best return, in terms of holidaymaker numbers and revenue i.e. Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe. New and emerging markets of high potential will also be targeted, including China and India; and Tourism Ireland will target niche segments – including golfers, business and incentive visitors, as well as the Diaspora in Britain, North America and Australia.

•    Leveraging Strong Tourism Image of Ireland
Interest in visiting the island of Ireland remains high in our top international tourism markets. Nonetheless, achieving ‘stand-out’ for Ireland among the hundreds of holiday choices on offer for travellers everywhere will be critical to meeting Tourism Ireland’s targets. The organisation will highlight unique and distinctive holiday experiences that resonate with potential visitors, encouraging them to visit now with timely and topical events, special offers and reasons to book as soon as possible.

•    Strengthening Engagement with Potential Holidaymakers
Capturing the attention of prospective holidaymakers is essential in order to ensure ‘stand-out’. Tourism Ireland will connect with, and deepen, its engagement with those potential visitors, ensuring its messages stand out more than ever – to influence them to choose Ireland as their holiday destination. This will include targeting our best prospects overseas even more closely with tailored messages that are really relevant to them – including key themes such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Dublin’s Discovery Trail, the Viking Triangle, ID2015 and Yeats 2015.

Digital and social media will be especially important in developing new ways of reaching, and connecting more frequently, with target audiences. Communications will be targeted more closely to their particular needs and interests, and those of their friends (particularly on social media), and will have ‘share-ability’ to ensure greater reach. Topical messages and special offers will help trigger ‘book now’ impulses and drive more referrals to the websites of Irish tourism companies. Tourism Ireland will also seek to ramp up the impact of its publicity programme around the world – placing increased focus on digital channels and working more closely with online media contacts, including bloggers. This year, Tourism Ireland’s publicity activities generated thousands of articles and broadcasts, worth an estimated €280 million.

•    Collaboration
Next year, Tourism Ireland will provide thousands of promotional engagements for Irish tourism enterprises and trade partners overseas – to help them do business overseas and facilitate them to ‘close the sale’, particularly in the digital space. The organisation will work with airlines, airports and other key partners, to identify and help close gaps in air services to Ireland, stimulate new flights and jointly promote existing routes. Tourism Ireland will also roll out a series of visa seminars in China and India, to build awareness of the new British-Irish Visa Scheme. It will continue to work with key stakeholders and agencies, including Irish and British embassies, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA – to enhance the image of Ireland as a holiday destination and a place in which to invest and do business. The organisation will also continue to work with the Irish Film Board, to attract and exploit future productions.