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15 Dec 2015

Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain win gold for tourism campaign in the Middle East

Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain won a gold award at the 2015 MEPRAs (Middle East Public Relations Awards), which took place last night in Dubai.

Beating off competition from eleven other nominees, Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain came out in top place in the ‘best integrated campaign’ category, for their joint ‘One Break, Two Cities’ campaign. The campaign – which included publicity and social media activity – highlighted the Visa Waiver Scheme in the Middle East during this year’s Eid holidays. It reminded GCC travellers about the island of Ireland’s proximity to Britain – encouraging people travelling to Britain to add on a visit to Dublin, Belfast or Cork, giving fans of Ireland and Britain the chance to experience both destinations in one hassle-free trip.

A special campaign page was created for Tourism Ireland’s website in the GCC, Ireland.com. And new ‘One Break, Two Cities’ itineraries – featuring Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway – were highlighted via email marketing to some 10,000 consumers in the GCC. The campaign also involved working with influential travel agents and tour operators in the Middle East, to encourage them to programme the island of Ireland and Great Britain in their travel packages. To date, 11 travel agents are programming a ‘One Break, Two Cities’ package, with several more committed for 2016.

The winners of the 2015 MEPRAs were selected by a jury of marketing and communications leaders from different sectors and organisations.

Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager Middle East and Asia, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that our ‘One Break, Two Cities’ campaign with VisitBritain has been singled out for this award by MEPRA. We have been working hard to raise the profile of the island of Ireland in the Gulf countries and are constantly looking at new and innovative ways of reaching potential holidaymakers for Ireland, so we are particularly honoured to receive this award. Our ‘One Break, Two Cities’ package means GCC visitors can easily combine two or more cities, across two countries, in one memorable holiday.”

Last year, Ireland welcomed about 55,000 visitors from the GCC. Amanda Burns continued: “2014 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s long-haul markets – and 2015 is also looking positive, with the most recent CSO figures showing growth of +25% in visitor numbers from our emerging markets for August to October. We recently launched our marketing plans for next year, which will see us build on this year’s growth, to make 2016 another record year for tourism.”

  Sarah White, Tourism Ireland (second left); Yasmine Rashed, VisitBritain (second right); and Niamh Walsh, Tourism Ireland (right), accepting the award for ‘best integrated campaign’ at the 2015 MEPRAs in Dubai.

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 2014, we welcomed 8.4 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.1 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.Ireland.com, 29 market sites available in ten language versions around the world, which will attract more than 16 million visitors in 2015.