Tourism Ireland in France has launched its marketing plans for 2017 this week, at an event in Paris attended by 50 leading French tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists. Irish Ambassador to France, Geraldine Byrne Nason, addressed the guests attending the launch.
France is one of the top four markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2016 was the fourth record-breaking year in a row for French visitors to Ireland. In fact, by the end of this year we will have welcomed more than half a million French visitors for the first time ever (in 2015, we welcomed 496,000 French visitors to the island of Ireland).
In 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to grow French visitors numbers by +3.5%. Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of the organisation’s strategy. A key factor working in our favour includes excellent access by air and sea – with some 29,000 airline seats from 25 different French airports available each week during the summer season, as well as excellent ferry connections.
Tourism Ireland will continue to target two important audiences in France: ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energisers’. Major promotional themes will include our spectacular coastal routes, including the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route; living historical stories and Ireland’s Ancient East; as well as city breaks to Dublin and Belfast.
In 2017, Tourism Ireland will undertake a targeted programme of promotions to reach its key audiences. A major TV advertising campaign will kick off in mid-February, reaching about 16 million potential French holidaymakers. The campaign will be supported by digital advertising and co-operative activity with partners such as Irish Ferries, Aer Lingus, Brittany Ferries, Ryanair and Transavia. Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its strength in digital and social media; the organisation now has almost 180,000 French Facebook
fans (3.7 million worldwide) and more than 13,000 followers on Twitter
. The organisation will also ramp up its publicity programme in France – placing increased focus on digital channels and working more closely with online media, including bloggers. Top French tour operators and travel agents, as well as business tourism buyers, will be targeted through sales blitzes, workshops, familiarisation visits to Ireland and a major presence at IFTM (International French Travel Market).
Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s Manager for Southern Europe, said: “2016 was the best year ever for French visitor numbers to the island of Ireland. By year end, we will have welcomed more than 500,000 French visitors – for the first time ever. Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive programme of promotional activity once again in 2017. We will work closely with our tourism partners – at home and in France – to keep the momentum going and build on the growth of the past few years.”
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC); Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland; Mylène Campalto, Abbey Ireland Group; and Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland, at the Paris launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2017.
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 220,000 people.
- In 2015, we welcomed 9.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of €4.9 billion.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted more than 16.6 million visitors in 2015.