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26 Jan 2018

Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin launches new €1.8 million Wild Atlantic Way initiative to boost British market

‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ promotion will target 10 million Britons

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD joined Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland today, to launch a new €1.8 million initiative, specially designed to boost tourist numbers from Britain to the Wild Atlantic Way. 

A €1.35 million marketing campaign in Britain will be complemented by a Fáilte Ireland €500,000 programme to support businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way to position themselves to benefit from the campaign, as well as to boost its own marketing campaigns in Northern Ireland. 

The ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ campaign will be rolled out by Tourism Ireland in Britain in two phases: phase one will happen in February and March and phase two in September and October. It aims to entice British holidaymakers to visit the Wild Atlantic Way during the off-season months. It will highlight ease of direct access from six British gateway cities to Cork, Kerry, Shannon, Knock, Donegal and City of Derry airports. 

Minister Brendan Griffin said: “Whilst the performance of the tourism sector in 2017 was exceptionally good, the one negative aspect was the decline in the number of overseas visitors to Ireland from Britain. It is therefore very encouraging to see marketing initiatives such as this being launched by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. In terms of inbound visitor numbers, Britain still remains our largest tourism market; therefore it is vital that we continue to strive to make Ireland an attractive destination for British tourists, in light of the uncertainty created by Brexit. I want to compliment the tourism agencies on the outstanding success of the Wild Atlantic Way initiative to date, but what’s more encouraging is to see a focus on trying to grow and build on that success, as evidenced by this rural tourism marketing campaign. This is very welcome news for the economy of rural Ireland, especially along the western seaboard.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “As our nearest neighbour and one of our top markets for overseas tourism, Britain remains a priority for Tourism Ireland. This new ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ campaign will highlight all the great things to see and do the length of the Wild Atlantic Way and will encourage British holidaymakers to come and visit outside of the peak travel season. We are very much aware that Brexit has impacted on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from Britain – including to Ireland. The depreciation of sterling against the euro means that value for money continues to be a key message for us in Britain. An important element of this campaign is the co-operative advertising with airlines flying to airports along the Wild Atlantic Way – highlighting good value offers and ease of access, helping to convert interest into business.”

Fáilte Ireland also announced that it will be allocating an additional €500,000 to complement Tourism Ireland’s €1.35M ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ campaign and augment its current Brexit Response Programme, as well as its marketing campaigns in Northern Ireland. 

Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland, said: “We will also be providing additional resources to complement this new campaign in Britain and to augment our ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme. This year we are already working with hundreds of businesses to help them assess their exposure to Brexit, fight to target best prospects in Britain and diversify their current offering to appeal to other strong markets as well. Our additional funding will allow us to work with more businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way and to assist them to best position themselves to benefit from increased marketing in Britain – including promotional work with UK travel trade, sales programmes and additional promotion in the golf sector. 

“Furthermore, as Northern Irish visitors are also an important part of the visitor mix, we will also be investing additional funding for a targeted Fáilte Ireland marketing campaign to increase business from the North.”

Tourism Ireland’s campaign will reach at least 10 million potential holidaymakers around Britain, through:
  • eye-catching outdoor ads in key roadside and city centre locations, as well as in train and bus stations. The ads will feature strong and iconic images of various locations along the Wild Atlantic Way and the key message will be quick and easy access from Britain to those spectacular locations in under two hours;
  • a promotion on Classic FM with popular British journalist and presenter Bill Turnbull, which will reach around six million listeners over four weeks, through a mix of live and recorded messages. Listeners will be encouraged to visit a special Wild Atlantic Way section on the Classic FM website – featuring news and images of the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as a chance to win a holiday here;
  • co-operative advertising with key airline partners – Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Flybe – to put good value offers in front of British holidaymakers and drive bookings in the shoulder seasons;
  • a joint promotion with TripAdvisor targeting people planning a break away,  including those considering competitor destinations. The promotion will feature banner ads, driving people to a special Wild Atlantic Way page on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor, in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, will host workshops in Ireland in February, to advise tourism partners along the Wild Atlantic Way on ways to get involved in this promotion;  
  • activity with influential British coach and group tour operators, to encourage them to extend the Wild Atlantic Way holidays in their programmes, particularly prioritising regionality and season extension. This will include joint marketing with tour operators, sales calls and presentations, as well as familiarisation visits to the Wild Atlantic Way;
  • a busy publicity programme targeting key British travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers; 
  • promotions via social media to Tourism Ireland’s 540,000 fans and followers in Britain on Facebook and Twitter; and
  • email marketing will reach about 140,000 potential holidaymakers on the Tourism Ireland database. 
Great Britain is Ireland’s largest market, accounting for almost half (47%) of all overseas visitors and almost one third (28%) of overseas tourism revenue in 2016. In 2017, we welcomed around 4.7 million visitors from Great Britain to the island of Ireland.

Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland; Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at the launch of a new ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ campaign.