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02 Feb 2018

German tourism leaders endorse new strategy

New strategy targets +20% growth in German visitors by 2021

Tourism Ireland has presented its new strategy for Germany to the group of senior German travel professionals who are part of its Marketing Partnership Group (MPG). The MPG is made up of leading German tour operators, as well as air and sea carriers, and is the official vehicle for consulting with tourism partners in Germany. 

The new Tourism Ireland strategy sets out challenging and ambitious targets which will see the island of Ireland welcome 800,000 German visitors per year by 2021, representing growth of +20%; and will see revenue generated by holiday visitors increase by +27%, to €375 million per year. Feedback about the strategy from the MPG was extremely positive. 

Germany is the third-largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland and in 2017 we welcomed around 660,000 German visitors. In fact, we saw growth of +62% in revenue from German visitors to Ireland in the period 2012-2016; this strong growth was driven by effective marketing and sales activity, more direct flights, as well as positive macro-economic conditions. 

Zoe Redmond, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Germany has performed extremely well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. We believe that this is a market of considerable potential for Irish tourism over the coming years. However, we certainly don’t take the performance for granted; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities to ensure that success continues. I am confident that our new, focused strategy will deliver on the challenging targets we have set for growth in German visitors, between now and 2021.” 

The new strategy has been developed in close co-operation with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI, as well a wide range of industry partners, at home and in Germany. It has identified the market segments and opportunities which will drive strong growth from Germany to the island of Ireland over the coming four years.

New research was undertaken as part of this review of the German market, in order to deepen our understanding of our target audience in Germany and how they choose their holiday destination. Key findings included: 

  • the Ireland brand (or image) needs to be more distinctive, in order to motivate German travellers to choose Ireland over our competitor destinations;
  • visual stimuli, and in particular inspiring video and images, are important motivators for Germans;
  • Germans need a deeper knowledge of Ireland – about the breadth of things to see and do here, the costs, ease of access, our weather and also the quality of our food;
  • Germans seek multiple recommendations (and reassurance) before booking and their main sources of information include friends and family, search engines and guidebooks;
  • the internet is used extensively to plan and prepare for a holiday, although many holidaymakers continue to book in the traditional way, through the travel trade;
  • the island of Ireland, and Northern Ireland in particular, will benefit from being more visible and topical; and
  • Germans evaluate price early and often when planning their holiday, with some 53% checking out price comparison websites and online travel operators.
Wulf Scheunert, BITS; Chris Ruebel, Tourism Ireland; Ines Batz, Dertouristik; Denise Quinn, Tourism Ireland; Dino Steinkamp, Dertourisktik; Zoë Redmond and Kristina Gauges, both Tourism Ireland; Seán Buckley, Marina Tours; and Ralf Michael Hubert, Irish Ferries, at the launch of a new tourism strategy for the German market in Frankfurt.

Notes To Editors

Tourism Ireland’s strategy for Germany
Tourism Ireland today shared the research findings and the actions planned to deliver on its ambition for the German market. The strategy will focus on the following priority areas, to deliver the ambitious growth targets:

  • Brand and marketing – creating the optimum conditions for sale through effective and distinctive positioning of the Ireland brand;
  • Distribution and ‘purchasability’ – strengthening Ireland’s presence and impact at every stage of the consumer’s ‘path to purchase’ of his or her holiday;
  • Product and experience – the development and delivery of products and experiences that really resonate and motivate German holidaymakers and create ‘standout’ for Ireland as a holiday destination. Tourism infrastructure around the island must also be developed further.
  • Market and consumer insights – the delivering and application of relevant, timely and actionable market/consumer insights, to ensure focused strategy implementation.
  • Access – access development between Germany and Ireland will play a vital role in supporting and delivering the growth targets.
  • Regional and seasonal development – development of regional and seasonal offerings to facilitate incremental and sustainable growth and strengthen the ‘order book’ in terms of where and when German holidaymakers will travel.
  • Industry collaboration and activation – growth will be driven from the ground up by an informed, ambitious, collaborative and pro-active tourism industry and trade.