Festival focus for Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign
Autumn promotional blitz targets late-season travellers around the world and tees up Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016
Tourism Ireland has launched an £8.5 million promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland and the island of 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 International Arts Festival to Culture Night, the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Londonderry, as well as the Belfast Comedy Festival and Cinemagic International Film and Television Festival.
Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: “The latest NISRA figures indicate that overseas visitors to Northern Ireland increased by +9% in the first quarter of 2015 over the same three-month period last year. And I am pleased to report that sentiment expressed by our tourism partners around Northern Ireland suggests that growth from overseas has continued into the high summer season – with major attractions like the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre reporting an increase in overseas visitors of +11%. 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.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn, targeting print, broadcast and online media around the world, with lots of positive stories about Northern Ireland, including the recent opening of The Gobbins Coastal Path. We will also continue to build awareness of Northern Ireland as a top business tourism destination, particularly highlighting the new facilities at the Waterfront Hall. In addition, Tourism Ireland will bring top overseas travel agents and tour operators to Northern Ireland this autumn, to meet with local tourism businesses and negotiate inclusion in their 2016 brochures and programmes.”
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. Highlights of the activity include co-operative promotions with carriers – such as Aer Lingus, Flybe, P&O, Vueling and Jet2; extensive online advertising; as well as a busy programme of digital, PR and social media activity.
Other highlights from the autumn campaign:
Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at the Belfast launch of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign.
- As we get ready for Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink in 2016, Tourism Ireland has invited about 20 international journalists to take part in a special, food-themed visit to Northern Ireland, at the end of October. Tourism Ireland will be taking every opportunity to highlight and celebrate our wonderful food scene, promoting Northern Ireland cuisine around the world;
- 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 2016;
- Sales blitzes targeting travel trade and media blitzes in Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco;
- In the Netherlands, three episodes of an extremely popular soap opera – filmed at various locations in Northern Ireland in May – will air from the beginning of October to about 2.5 million Dutch TV viewers;
- Co-operative campaigns with Visit Belfast and Vueling (in Spain) and with Visit Belfast and Jet2.com (in Italy), to raise awareness of Belfast as a fantastic city break destination and to drive sales of flights to Belfast during September and October; and
- World Travel Market, London – the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, where Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 will be launched to the influential travel professionals in attendance.
Notes To Editors
Tourism Ireland’s global autumn campaign includes:
- Alan Titchmarsh promotion reaches 5 million ‘culturally curious’ in GB
Tourism Ireland has teamed up with well-known English gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh this autumn – sponsoring his Saturday morning show on Classic FM, one of Britain’s largest radio stations. The promotion is running for seven weeks, reaching some 5 million of our ‘culturally curious’ audience in GB. Each week, Titchmarsh is highlighting some of the many reasons to visit Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland – through a mix of live and recorded messages – covering a different theme each week. Listeners are encouraged to visit a special section on the Classic FM website – which features news, images and videos of Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, as well as a chance to win a holiday here. Online ads are running on the Classic FM website; and other Classic FM presenters are also sharing their own unique experiences of holidaying here with listeners during the weekday schedule.
- Targeting 2.6 million Telegraph readers
Tourism Ireland’s ‘Live in the Now’ campaign with the Telegraph continues this autumn and will be seen by about 2.6 million ‘culturally curious’ – through ads running in the newspaper, as well as articles in the Telegraph online.
- Online ads and video to reach millions across GB
An extensive online ad campaign will highlight Belfast and Dublin as vibrant city destinations on sites which are popular with our ‘social energiser’ audience – such as MailOnline, MTV News, FilmOn, dailymotion, Gigwise and EntertainmentWise; a separate online campaign will highlight the Causeway Coastal Route and Belfast and Beyond to prospective ‘culturally curious’ visitors – on websites like TVGuide.co.uk, The Independent online, Channel5.com, DiscoveryUK.com and OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk.
And video ads will also showcase Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland online. Tourism Ireland’s Check Belfast and Craic Dublin films will promote both cities to almost 1.5 million ‘social energisers’ between now and the end of the year – on popular mobile and tablet apps such as MailOnline, Kerrang and Kiss FM, as well as on TV catch-up apps. And our TV ads will reach 2.6 million ‘culturally curious’ watching popular programmes like Emmerdale and The One Show on mobile and tablet devices, via the TV CatchUp app.
- Publicity spotlight
Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn, targeting national and regional print, broadcast and online media throughout Britain, with lots of positive stories about Northern Ireland, including the recent opening of The Gobbins Coastal Path. Influential journalists and bloggers have been invited to experience events like the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Londonderry and Northern Ireland Opera’s new production of Puccini’s Turandot.
- Co-operation with key partners
A busy programme of co-operative campaigns with air and sea carriers – including Aer Lingus, Flybe, Stena Line and P&O – is in the pipeline for this autumn. Campaigns will also be undertaken with major online travel agents like Expedia, Hotels.com and ebookers, to drive bookings for autumn breaks in Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland will also work with leading GB tour operators this autumn, including Stenaline Holidays, British Airways Holidays, Glenton Holidays, Fáilte Travel, Barrhead Travel, Superbreaks and GreatDays Travel.
- Promoting to the influential travel trade
About 15 influential GB coach and group tour operators have been invited by Tourism Ireland to attend networking events in Londonderry and Belfast this week, where they will meet with local tourism enterprises and negotiate for their 2016 programmes. The tour operators will also take part in a familiarisation visit which will take in The Gobbins Coastal Path and a Game of Thrones tour.
- World Travel Market
Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in November, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar, where Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 will be launched to the influential travel professionals in attendance. Tourism enterprises from Northern Ireland who will join Tourism Ireland at WTM this year include Causeway Coastal Route, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism, Mourne Mountains/Ring of Gullion and St Patrick’s Country, Visit Belfast and Visit Derry.
- Growing business tourism
Corporate meetings and association conferences continue to be the focus of Tourism Ireland’s business tourism promotions in GB this autumn. ‘Ireland Meets the West End’ in London, an important B2B event, will take place again this year, in November, with eight companies from Northern Ireland signed up to attend (including the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, Galgorm Resort & Spa, Hastings Hotels, The Merchant Hotel, National Museums Northern Ireland, Park Avenue Hotel, Visit Derry and Visit Belfast).
- ‘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 specialists; companies due to attend include Maserati, Guinness and Barclay Wealth and Investment Management. Co-operative campaigns continue this autumn, with top online golf tour operators Your Golf Travel and Golfbreaks. And online ads will run on six key golf websites between now and the end of the year.
- Spreading the good news about car touring in Ireland
Once again, Tourism Ireland and partners (including Causeway Coastal Route and Galgorm Resort & Spa) 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 in Northern Ireland and around the island. Tourism Ireland will also attend the Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, in mid-November – the most popular car exhibition in GB.
- Autumn advertising campaigns
Extensive advertising in the US this autumn includes:
- online campaigns, from mid-August until mid-November to engage millions of people in our ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences. The campaigns feature extensive use of video and other content to motivate and engage potential holidaymakers at the right time and in the right environment. The campaign targeting the ‘culturally curious’ is running on a range of sites such as BBC World, NationalGeographic.com, LonelyPlanet.com and Smithsonian, as well as on digital TV through CBS. Our second digital campaign, targeting younger ‘social energiser’ holidaymakers, is running on popular special interest sites, such as food, music and travel;
- an online tactical ad campaign, running until November and aimed at turning more ‘lookers into bookers’, by presenting attractive vacation packages to prospective travellers at key booking periods, on popular websites like TravelZoo, New York Times, Dunhill Travel Deals and Shermans Travel. This campaign will reach a combined subscriber database of 62 million people, via dedicated e-blasts.
- Tourism Ireland will also ‘wrap’ Metro newspapers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia next week – with attractive, four-page wraps highlighting great reasons to travel here in the October to March period to about 600,000 commuters in the three cities.
- in Canada, Tourism Ireland’s online ad campaign will run from September to November on popular websites like BBC, The Weather Network and MSN, reaching some 20 million potential Canadian holidaymakers with ideas for great off-season breaks and special offers – inspiring them to travel here in the November to April period.
- 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 Minneapolis, Denver and Dallas (in September) and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco (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 tourism businesses (including the National Trust, Lough Erne Resort and Visit Derry) to promote and sell their product to the key decision-makers they meet in the various cities.
- Targeting Ulster Scots market
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 2016. A number of Northern Ireland ‘ambassadors’ will travel to the United States with Tourism Ireland to attend the Games and take part in a promotional blitz in the southern states of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. In addition, a new Tourism Ireland email marketing campaign will be timed to coincide with the Stone Mountain Highland Games – targeting some 250,000 “best prospects” with the top 20 Northern Ireland surnames.
- Publicity spotlight
Influential travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from the US and Canada have been invited to visit this autumn – including a journalist from Canadian magazine Style At Home (who will cover the story of linen in Northern Ireland). And over the coming months, an eight-page fashion story – shot at the Giant’s Causeway earlier this year – will appear in Sharp, a popular men’s lifestyle magazine in Canada with about 440,000 readers. Other publicity opportunities this autumn will include Tourism Ireland’s sponsorship of iBAM! Chicago 2015 (Irish books and music festival) which will feature Londonderry chef and cookbook author Emmet McCourt.
- Promoting to the influential travel trade
In Canada, a series of webinars (online training seminars for the travel trade) will include themes such as Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016. Tourism Ireland will also partner with Air Canada rouge on a series of educational workshops for travel agents in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa.
- Social media promotions
Almost 1 million people are following Tourism Ireland on Facebook in the US and almost 77,000 in Canada (3+ million fans worldwide) to learn more about Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland also has about 61,500 Twitter followers in the US (@GotoIrelandUS) and almost 25,000 followers in Canada (@GoToIrelandCA); and is also now targeting younger travellers through Pinterest, with 6,500 followers on the photo-sharing site.
- Co-operation with airlines, tour operators and online travel agents
Print and online campaigns with the various airlines serving the island of Ireland from the United States – including United Airlines, Aer Lingus, Delta, American and Ethiopian Airlines – are either under way or in the pipeline, to drive business in the shoulder and off-peak seasons. Tourism Ireland is also working with about ten leading American tour operators this autumn – including Sceptre Tours, CIE Tours International, Collette Vacations, Great Value Vacations, Trafalgar Tours and Gate1 Travel. And in Canada, Tourism Ireland – together with Air Canada rouge and Aer Lingus – is highlighting off-season travel, through sponsorship of the Chris Robinson Travel Show (popular radio show).
- Email marketing
Tourism Ireland’s email marketing will reach almost 150,000 Americans each week this autumn, highlighting partner offers and compelling reasons to visit, in particular the Causeway Coastal Route and Wild Atlantic Way.
- 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. Activity will include a significant presence, with partners – including Hastings Hotels and Visit Belfast – 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 had a presence at last weekend’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Massachusetts.
- Targeting equestrian enthusiasts
Tourism Ireland will sponsor the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, in November – an indoor agricultural and horse show event, with about 320,000 visitors each year.
- Two major co-operative campaigns with carriers will run in our main markets across Europe this autumn, drawing business to the island. In September and October, Tourism Ireland will partner with Aer Lingus in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, through an extensive online and outdoor campaign. Tourism Ireland will also partner with Ryanair in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
Activity in individual European markets includes:
AUSTRALIA AND DEVELOPING MARKETS
o Tourism Ireland will team up with Samsung Germany, to bring five top German Instagramers (all specialists in urban photography) to Belfast at the end of September, when they will capture lots of great photos and then share them with their 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
o An online tactical campaign will run until October on key news, travel and special interest websites, encouraging Germans to ‘travel now’.
o Business tourism promotions will include a familiarisation visit to Co Fermanagh, Belfast, The Gobbins Coastal Path and Co Down for nine influential German MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) buyers, in September; a refreshed online MICE Academy (training programme) aimed at raising awareness among buyers of the excellent business tourism offering in Northern Ireland and right around the island of Ireland; a B2B workshop in Munich at the end of November, targeting senior representatives of companies involved in the MICE sector in southern Germany; as well as advertorials in key business publications between September and December, reaching more than 40,000 MICE buyers.
o Tourism Ireland will work with Konbini (culture, arts and news website) in September and October, promoting city breaks in Belfast and Dublin to our ‘social energiser’ audience. An online campaign will also highlight city breaks, as well as this autumn’s festivals, to our ‘culturally curious’ audience.
o Tactical ads will run on the sites of popular online travel agents – lastminute.com (in September and October) and Opodo (in November); and email marketing will also highlight good value, off-season breaks and special offers from industry partners and the French travel trade.
o Tourism Ireland will have a presence once again at this year’s IFTM (International French Travel Market), the largest travel trade exhibition in France, at the end of September – where The Gobbins Coastal Path will be launched to the influential French travel professionals in attendance.
o Tourism Ireland will host two media events in Paris, in October – to launch the new edition of the Petit Futé guidebook for Northern Ireland/Belfast (the only French guidebook dedicated to Northern Ireland) and to launch the latest book by Northern Ireland-born celebrity chef Trish Deseine Mon Irlande.
o In October, French group travel organisers will visit Co Down and Belfast on a familiarisation visit; and in November, a group of French tour operators has been invited to visit Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Londonderry.
o In December, a four-page insert will highlight Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland for conferences and meetings to 7,000 readers of Meet and Travel magazine.
o An online campaign will promote Belfast and Dublin for great city breaks to more than six million Spanish ‘social energisers’, in October and November. Spain is an important market for late season travel, with about 21% of all Spanish visitors arriving here in October, November and December.
o A joint promotional campaign with Visit Belfast and Vueling is under way right now, to raise awareness of Belfast as a fantastic city break destination and to drive sales of Vueling flights from Barcelona to Belfast this autumn. Millions of people are seeing eye-catching ads in metro stations and on buses operating on the city’s busy thoroughfares; extensive online advertising is running on newspaper websites like La Vanguardia and El Periodico de Catalunya, as well as on popular travel sites like Rumbo and eDreams and on the Vueling website. Email marketing will reach about 1.3 million potential holidaymakers in this part of Spain and a further 1 million people on Vueling’s own database. Belfast features in the September edition of Ling, the inflight magazine of Vueling; and social media is also helping to spread the word, with posts about Belfast targeting Vueling’s 623,000 Facebook fans.
o Co-operative activity with online travel agents (OTAs) includes a print and online campaign with Logitravel (the third largest online travel agent in Spain) and an online campaign with eDreams. Tourism Ireland will also co-operate with Iberia on an online campaign, in September and October.
o Nine representatives of one of Spain’s leading tour operators, Travelplan, have been invited to Northern Ireland in early October; their fact-finding visit will included Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route.
o A co-operative promotion with Visit Belfast and Jet2.com is under way right now in Rome – highlighting attractive fares to Belfast on buses operating around the Italian capital, as well as on popular travel sites like EasyViaggio, PaesiOnLine and Skyscanner.
o A busy digital campaign, including email marketing and social media, will also highlight Belfast and Dublin as ideal city break destinations this autumn.
o In October, Tourism Ireland will attend TTG Incontri, an important trade fair in Rimini which was attended by about 37,000 Italian travel professionals in 2014.
- Northern Europe
o In the Netherlands, three episodes of an extremely popular soap opera – filmed at various locations in Northern Ireland in May – will air from the beginning of October to about 2.5 million Dutch TV viewers. To coincide with the broadcast, Tourism Ireland will run a competition online, offering people in the Netherlands the chance to win a trip here and follow in the footsteps of the TV personalities.
o Tourism Ireland’s annual trade workshop in the Netherlands took place this week in Amsterdam, with partners (including Visit Belfast, Visit Derry and KLM) meeting and doing business for 2016 with top Dutch tour operators, travel agents and online travel agents.
o Tourism Ireland will partner with CheapTickets, the largest online travel agency in the Netherlands, to promote city breaks here during September.
o In the Nordic countries, an online campaign will highlight Belfast and Dublin, with the headline ‘Two Cities, One Break’, on the site of eTraveli (the biggest online travel agent in the Nordics) between now and the end of the year.
o Visit Belfast will meet business tourism contacts at Tourism Ireland’s networking event in Belgium, in November.
- Advertising in Australia to capitalise on ‘early bird’ booking season
Tourism Ireland in Australia will kick off a digital and print ad campaign at the end of September, to capitalise on the important ‘early bird’ booking season – when all the major airlines promote their special fares. The campaign will run until the end of this year, keeping Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland ‘front of mind’ for Australians considering a trip to Europe in 2016.
- Publicity spotlight
A group of Chinese journalists, from publications like National Geographic Traveler and BQ Weekly, have been invited to visit the Causeway Coast later this month. Tourism Ireland invited Australian journalist Lee Tulloch to visit earlier this year and an article showcasing Northern Ireland and its Game of Thrones connections features on Traveller.com/au right now; this article has also been syndicated more than 150 times over the past few weeks.
- “One Break, Two Cities” campaign in GCC
A campaign is highlighting the Visa Waiver Scheme in the Middle East, during the Eid holidays in August and September – targeting GCC holidaymakers travelling to GB and encouraging them to add on a visit to Belfast, Dublin or Cork.
- Co-operation with key partners
Tourism Ireland in China will team up with Tuniu, one of the country’s leading online travel companies, to create a new video which will be used to promote Tuniu’s new seven-day island of Ireland programme. In India, Tourism Ireland is joining VisitBritain on its B2B ‘mini roadshow’ – meeting travel professionals in nine cities, kicking off in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune (in the West), continuing to Kolkata, New Delhi and Chandigarh (in the East and North) and ending in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad (in the South). In the GCC, a digital campaign in partnership with Etihad will highlight ease of access as well as compelling reasons to visit Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland. And in South Africa, Tourism Ireland will team up with Trafalgar (tour operator), with a competition on the popular Expresso breakfast TV show offering viewers the chance to win a holiday here.
- 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 nine partners from Northern Ireland (Beech Hill Country House Hotel, City Hotel Derry, Hastings Hotels, Mount Stewart, National Museums Northern Ireland, Stena Line, Titanic Belfast, Visit Belfast and Visit Derry).