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10 Sep 2014

Tourism Ireland and Tourism Minister Arlene Foster launch £9.5M autumn campaign

Autumn promotional blitz targets late-season travellers around the world

Festival focus for Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign

Tourism Ireland and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster have launched a £9.5 million promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world. The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of annual 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 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s including the ‘From Bolshoi to Belfast: The Theatre of Costume’ exhibition at the Crumlin Road Gaol, to Culture Night, MTV Crashes and the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Londonderry, as well as the Belfast Comedy Festival and the CS Lewis Festival.

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 will run in GB to promote routes and attractive fares with partners like Aer Lingus, Flybe, EasyJet, Stena Line and P&O.   

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “It is vital we continue to promote Northern Ireland as a vibrant tourist destination. This campaign will help to emphasis the wealth of activities and tremendous choice that await visitors. This autumn, Northern Ireland will play host to a range of musical, cultural and sporting events, attractions and festivals. Given research has shown later than ever booking patterns, we still have a real opportunity to persuade people to take holidays and city breaks here. This campaign will help to showcase Northern Ireland to those visitors still undecided on the destination of their autumn/winter break.”

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: “I am pleased to report that sentiment expressed by our industry partners suggests growth from overseas during the high summer season. We are determined to keep that momentum going. 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.”


Notes To Editors


On ‘Location’ with Phil Spencer: 6.5 million across GB to see new films
Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Phil Spencer, co-presenter of the hit Channel 4 TV series Location Location Location, and Classic FM, one of GB’s largest radio stations, in a novel promotion aimed at our ‘culturally curious’ audience this autumn. New online films, fronted by Phil Spencer, have been produced – including a Northern Ireland film which features places like Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. The films will be promoted on the Classic FM website over a four-week period, from mid-September until mid-October. The campaign is expected to reach about 6.5 million people across GB.

Targeting 11.6 million Telegraph and Guardian readers
Some 11.6 million ‘culturally curious’ holidaymakers will see double-page advertising spreads in the Guardian (4.9 million) and Telegraph (6.7 million) during September and October; and information about holidays and short breaks here on the websites of both newspapers.

Highlighting Dublin and Belfast to 3 million ‘social energisers’
Tourism Ireland’s Check Belfast and Craic Dublin films will highlight city breaks in Belfast and Dublin, to almost 3 million ‘social energisers’, between now and the end of the year – through ITV Player, 4 On Demand, YouTube and other online platforms.

Belfast and Dublin ‘go viral’
A viral video campaign will also highlight Belfast and Dublin to hundreds of thousands of ‘social energisers’ in GB – on YouTube and through social sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

Publicity spotlight
Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn, targeting national and regional print, broadcast and online media throughout GB, with lots of positive stories about Northern Ireland.

Co-operation with key partners
A busy programme of co-operative campaigns with air and sea carriers – including Aer Lingus, Flybe, easyJet, Stena Line and P&O – is in the pipeline for this autumn. Campaigns will also be undertaken with major online travel agents like Expedia,,, Travelzoo, Hostelworld and eBookers – to drive bookings during September and the rest of the year. Tourism Ireland will also work with leading GB tour operators, including cottages4you, Caledonian Travel, Superbreak and GreatDays Travel.

Promoting to the influential travel trade
About 40 influential GB coach and group tour operators have been invited by Tourism Ireland to workshops in Belfast and Cork, where they will meet representatives of the tourism industry here and negotiate for their 2015 programmes. Tourism Ireland is also working with Albatross Travel (major coach tour specialist) – and has invited members of its sales team to take part in an educational trip to Belfast and Londonderry in October.

World Travel Market
Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in November. This year, about 55 tourism enterprises from the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland at WTM, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar.

Growing business tourism
Corporate meetings and association conferences continue to be the focus of Tourism Ireland’s business tourism promotions in GB this autumn. Twenty-eight tourism enterprises from the island of Ireland (including Derry Convention Bureau, Lough Erne Resort, National Museums Northern Ireland, The Merchant Hotel, Titanic Belfast and Visit Belfast) will take part in a B2B workshop and networking event in Manchester, in mid-September, to do business with about 40 leading conference and meetings organisers. And Tourism Ireland’s ‘Ireland Meets the West End’ in London, another important B2B event, will take place again this year, in November, with 40 business tourism companies from the island of Ireland signed up to attend.

‘Teeing up’ our world-class golf
Tourism Ireland will sponsor a golf day in September, at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey, highlighting our world-class golf to almost 100 influential corporate buyers and golf travel professionals. A key message on the day will be this summer’s successes of Rory McIlroy and the world-class golf on offer in Northern Ireland. Also, in September, Tourism Ireland will sponsor a Co-operation Ireland golf event at the prestigious Welcombe Hotel & Golf Course, in Stratford-upon-Avon – which is due to be attended by more than 60 corporate and business leaders from the midlands in GB. Co-operative campaigns continue this autumn, with top online golf tour operators Your Golf Travel and Golfbreaks.

Spreading the good news about car touring in Ireland
Once again, Tourism Ireland will have a presence at the Goodwood Revival in Chichester, in mid-September. This is one of the largest vintage car festival events in GB, attracting about 150,000 visitors and offering 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 mid-November – the most popular car exhibition in GB.


Autumn advertising campaigns
Some 2.5 million Americans are seeing full-page Tourism Ireland ads, with accompanying full-page advertorial features, in the September editions of glossy magazines Afar, Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure. An online ad campaign – targeting our ‘culturally curious’ audience – will run until the end of November on a range of premium online networks, such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL, ABC, CBS, National Geographic and the History Channel. An online campaign is also under way, targeting millions of ‘social energiser’ holidaymakers.   
Another extensive online tactical ad campaign, designed to turn more ‘lookers into bookers’, will run until the end of October. Online ads, featuring compelling vacation offers, are being put in front of potential travellers at the ‘active planning’ stage and appearing on popular sites like TravelZoo, Travel Spike, Shermans Travel, JetSetter and Dunhill Travel Deals; and communicated via dedicated e-blasts to third-party commercial partner databases (of frequent travellers), reaching some 22 million potential holidaymakers across the US.
Tourism Ireland will sponsor the autumn re-run of series four of the hugely popular Downton Abbey on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service, a non-profit public TV network), ahead of the launch of series five in 2015, reaching 650,000 households each week in New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Travel trade and media blitzes
Tourism Ireland and partners will ‘pound the pavements’ in the US once again this autumn, through a series of sales blitzes, targeting hundreds of travel agents in the key cities of Chicago and Boston (in September) and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle (in November). The busy schedule includes a B2B event in each city showcasing Northern Ireland and the regions of Ireland to the travel agents via a 60-minute travel TV show format and will also include opportunities for media networking – providing an excellent opportunity for the participating Irish tourism enterprises to promote and sell their product to the key decision-makers they meet in the various cities.
And ‘Connect Canada II’ – Tourism Ireland’s four-day sales blitz in October – will target influential travel agents in western Canada, in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Targeting Ulster Scots market at Stone Mountain Highland Games
Tourism Ireland will once again have a presence at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, in October – targeting the Scots-Irish and Ulster Scots market and helping to ensure Northern Ireland is high on the vacation ‘wish-list’ of Americans for 2015.

Publicity spotlight
Influential travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from the US and Canada have been invited to visit Northern Ireland this autumn – including award-winning Canadian travel bloggers Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbell, whose blog is called The Planet D. Northern Ireland ‘ambassadors’ – including representatives of the Ulster-Scots Agency and Titanic Belfast, chefs and storytellers – will share positive news about Northern Ireland with key media contacts in the cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville (around the Stone Mountain Highland Games).

Co-operation with airlines
Co-operative campaigns with various airlines – including United Airlines – are under way this autumn.

Growing business tourism from the US
Tourism Ireland will continue to build awareness of the island of Ireland as a world-class destination for association conferences and incentive travel, this autumn. The programme will include a significant presence – with 30 partners from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland (including Belfast Waterfront, which will showcase a 3D flythrough of its extended facility, opening in 2016) – at IMEX America in October, a three-day show which targets decision-makers in the lucrative MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector.

‘Teeing up’ our world-class golf
Tourism Ireland’s TV and digital ad campaign continues until after the Ryder Cup – reaching millions of golf enthusiasts across the US on the popular Golf Channel and online, on Co-operative activity with Perry Golf includes full-page ads in the Houston Links and Dallas Links magazines this September, ads on and radio ads.

Email marketing
Tourism Ireland’s email marketing will reach almost 350,000 Americans and 60,000 Canadians each month this autumn, highlighting partner offers and compelling reasons to visit e.g. the Causeway Coastal Route.

A major co-operative campaign with Aer Lingus will run in September across Europe – in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark (and in Spain in October) – promoting good value flights for the autumn period and early 2015, through a mix of online advertising, email marketing and social media advertising.

Tourism Ireland is also partnering with – highlighting city breaks and festivals through online and video banner ads, to thousands of customers across Europe who have been identified as ‘best prospects’ by

Activity in individual European markets includes:


  • Tourism Ireland has invited German outdoor equipment and clothing company McKinley to undertake a photo-shoot in Northern Ireland this autumn for its magazine, Weitblick; locations will include the Mournes and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. The resulting extensive spread on Northern Ireland will appear in the March 2015 edition of Weitblick – it will be distributed through 800 Intersport stores around Germany, as well as in sports hall, cafés and gyms and will be seen by an estimated 240,000 German sports enthusiasts – or potential holidaymakers for Northern Ireland.
  • Twenty-two tourism partners from the island of Ireland will travel to Offenbach in November, to take part in Tourism Ireland’s B2B workshop and networking event with key German, Swiss and Austrian tour operators.
  • Business tourism promotions will include a new online MICE Academy or training programme aimed at raising awareness among German MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) agency buyers of the excellent business tourism offering right around the island of Ireland; as well as a B2B workshop in Munich at the end of October, targeting senior representatives of companies in southern Germany involved in the MICE sector.


  • Tourism Ireland will team up with Brittany Ferries for a ‘book early for 2015’ campaign, highlighting car touring, coach tours and family holidays to the island of Ireland.
  • Tourism Ireland will run online ads on My Little Paris (an extremely popular website) in September and October, promoting city breaks in Belfast and Dublin to our ‘social energiser’ audience.
  • Tourism Ireland, and partners, will have a presence again this year at IFTM (International French Travel Market), the largest travel trade exhibition in France, which takes place at the end of September.
  • Tourism Ireland will also have a presence at Loisir Expo (trade fair) in Paris, in September, to boost group travel from France; partners will include Flavour of Tyrone.
  • A number of French TV crews will film here this autumn – including 100% Mag for the M6 Channel (about Game of Thrones and its connection with Northern Ireland).
  • An autumn online campaign kicks off in mid-September, highlighting Belfast and Dublin to our ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audience in France.
  • Business tourism promotions will include familiarisation visits for influential corporate and incentive buyers; as well as a presence at Meedex business tourism workshop in Paris, with partners (including Visit Belfast) in September.


  • The ELT (English language teaching) sector is hugely important in Spain, with approximately 25,000 students visiting the island of Ireland each year. An online campaign will run (on higher education portals and on the popular Spanish social media site, Tuenti) during September and October, targeting professional young adults (18 to 30 year-olds) for off-season travel; and email marketing will also target consumers in Madrid and Barcelona with an interest in travel and education.
  • In October, Tourism Ireland will team up with Logitravel – the third largest online travel agent (OTA) in Spain – for a print and online campaign which will be seen by millions of potential holidaymakers across Spain. With several long weekends coming up for Spaniards in the latter part of the year, this is an ideal time to push off-season weekend breaks.
  • Print and outdoor ads in Madrid metro stations during October, in conjunction with leading Spanish tour operator Viajes el Corte Inglés, will also help boost travel in the last quarter.


  • Tourism Ireland – and partners – will have a presence at TTG Incontri (one of the most important trade fairs in Italy) in Rimini, in October.

Northern Europe

  • Tourism Ireland’s annual trade workshop in the Netherlands took place at the beginning of September; partners included Causeway Coast and Glens, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism, Peter Little Publications and Visit Derry, who met and did business for 2015 with more than 40 top Dutch tour operators, travel agents and online travel agents (OTAs).  


All set for prime time on Australian TV
Tourism Ireland has invited Dublin-born chef and restaurateur Colin Fassnidge, who has become a celebrity chef in his adopted Australia, to come and film a brand new, travel and cooking show here this autumn, called Colin’s Ireland. He will film in Northern Ireland in late September/early October.

Radio and print promotions in Australia
A radio campaign on 2GB, a popular radio station in Sydney, has just kicked off. Between now and the end of the year, it will feature interviews on the station’s Travel Show – with host Glenn Wheeler highlighting lots of different holiday experiences around the island of Ireland. Also, a 16-page supplement will be distributed in November with The Weekend Australian (national newspaper).

Co-operation with key partners
Tourism Ireland in Australia will co-operate with various travel partners this autumn, such as Emirates, helloworld, Escape Travel (part of the Flight Centre Group, Australasia’s largest retail travel agency group), Tempo Holidays, Quantas Holidays, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar and CIE Tours International – through a mix of print and online advertising campaigns, as well as in-store promotions. For example, Tourism Ireland and CIE Tours will advertise coach tour holidays to the island of Ireland, in September and October, in Woman’s Weekly magazine (Australia’s leading glossy magazine with some 2.6 million readers).
Working with Emirates and Avis, Tourism Ireland will highlight our world-class golf, as well as driving holidays here, at an Ireland Golf Day in Sydney this September, with about 70 leading Australian travel trade and media in attendance.

Promoting to the influential travel trade
A 32-page supplement will appear in Travel Weekly magazine, at the end of September – produced jointly by Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain – targeting the influential travel trade during the important ‘early bird’ booking season in Australia. 

Hitting the road Down Under
Twelve tourism partners from the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for a ten-day sales mission to Australia and New Zealand this November.

Tourism Ireland leads sales mission to China
Tourism Ireland, together with a delegation of tourism enterprises (including Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism, Causeway Coast and Glens, Ramada Plaza Belfast, The National Trust/Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Visit Belfast and Stena Line), will blitz three major cities in China this month, as part of a targeted sales mission to increase the profile of Ireland among Chinese travel professionals. The sales mission will target top Chinese travel agents and tour operators in the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

A taste of Northern Ireland at ‘Flavours’ event in London
Tourism Ireland’s annual ‘Flavours’ event takes place in London, at the beginning of October. The B2B tourism workshop, which aims to grow our share of the huge worldwide tourism market, will see about 100 representatives of the top GB-based inbound tour operators come together to do business with tourism organisations from the island of Ireland – including ten partners from Northern Ireland (e.g. Hastings Hotels, Galgorm Resort & Spa, City Hotel Derry, The Merchant Hotel in Belfast and National Museums Northern Ireland).


Previous Press Release

09 Sep 2014

Tourism Ireland welcomes new flight from Helsinki