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26 Nov 2018

Additional €10M to be invested in marketing Ireland overseas in 2019, bringing total spend to €45M

New global TV, cinema and online campaign revealed

Tourism Ireland’s strategy to focus on regional and seasonal growth

Tourism Ireland has announced it will increase its spending by €10 million in 2019, to €45 million, and will launch its first new global advertising campaign in seven years to help attract more overseas visitors to the island of Ireland. 

The additional funding will allow Tourism Ireland to significantly strengthen its marketing programmes next year. The organisation is targeting record numbers again next year and aims to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2019 to €6.5 billion (+6%) and visitor numbers to 11.67 million (+4%). 

Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – ‘Fill your Heart with Ireland’ – will launch next month in the United States, Britain, France and Germany. From January 2019, it will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe. It will include TV, cinema, print, outdoor and online ads, as well as content for social platforms. The campaign will feature less visited attractions and locations and aims to attract visitors all year round.

Details of the new campaign were revealed at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy and plans for 2019, an event attended by Tourism Minister Shane Ross and around 500 tourism industry leaders from around the country. 

Sustainability is the watchword for Tourism Ireland, heading into 2019 and beyond. The organisation will place a greater focus on driving growth to less visited attractions and locations, as well as on driving business in the off-peak and shoulder seasons. 

Tourism Ireland will also re-develop its entire suite of Ireland.com websites, which attracts more than 20 million visits a year, to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s. The new technology will also allow Tourism Ireland to re-target visitors and potential visitors with personalised messages and offers, designed to appeal to their specific interests.
In the context of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative, Tourism Ireland will implement its US, German, emerging markets and British market growth strategies. This will see the organisation expand its operations in China – with new representation in Hong Kong – and increase its marketing activity in the US and Canada, as well as in emerging markets like Japan (particularly around the Rugby World Cup). 

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said: “I am delighted to be here today with Tourism Ireland as they launch their marketing strategy and plans for 2019. I have been hugely impressed by the hard work and dedication of the Tourism Ireland team at home and overseas and I would like to congratulate them for what looks to be another record year for overseas tourism to Ireland. The latest CSO figures indicate that more than 8.2 million people visited during the January to September period, an increase of +7.1%, or an additional 542,300 overseas visitors, when compared with 2017. 

“While there are challenges for Irish tourism as a consequence of Brexit, I am confident that the tourism industry can adapt quickly to enable continued growth from international markets. The additional funding that I secured for the sector in the recent budget will strengthen Tourism Ireland’s marketing in key markets throughout 2019. With a new global marketing campaign, the first for some years, launched across the world, we look forward to building on our recent success by continuing to grow in a manner that is sustainable. 

“My Department will shortly publish a Tourism Action Plan covering the period from 2019 to 2020, which will outline some key actions required to maintain the strong performance of the tourism sector over the next few years and the marketing strategy plans that Tourism Ireland have unveiled today will underpin many of the actions outlined in that plan.”


2018 performance
2018 is set to be another record year for Irish tourism. Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, revenue generated by international visitors will be around €6.1 billion, a +10% increase over last year, helping to sustain around 320,000 valuable jobs in communities across the island. Some 11.2 million people will have visited the island of Ireland, representing a +6% increase over 2017, with growth recorded from all markets. 

“2018 is set to be another record year for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records and coming on the back of a number of years of strong growth,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “And, I am delighted to report that we have seen growth from all our main markets around the world – with record numbers arriving here from North America, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated €330 million in equivalent advertising value.” 

2019
In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6%, to €6.5 billion for the island of Ireland; and to grow visitor numbers to 11.67 million (+4%). 

“We are heading into 2019 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2018,” said Niall Gibbons. “Our aim is to spread this success throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland – ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.

“Our new campaign, ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’, presents Tourism Ireland with a great opportunity to drive continued growth to the regions next year and to encourage visitors to travel off-peak. It will feature locations that have been less visited by overseas visitors and will also highlight outdoor activities like cycling, walking and kayaking. We are confident that our new campaign will set the island of Ireland apart from our competitor destinations and help deliver another record year for overseas tourism in 2019.”


2019 will undoubtedly present some challenges – not least the continued uncertainty around Brexit, which may impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from Britain. Competitiveness and value for money will continue to be a key message for us in Britain and elsewhere next year. Other challenges include economic and geo-political uncertainty, as well as the potential for oil price inflation.

New access developments for 2019 include Aer Lingus flights from Minneapolis-St Paul and Montreal to Dublin and from Nice to Cork; an American Airlines service from Dallas to Dublin; Ryanair services from Cologne to Ireland West Airport Knock, from East Midlands to Shannon and from Gothenburg to Dublin; and a Norwegian flight from Hamilton (Ontario) to Dublin. Summer 2019 will see an estimated 620,000 direct, one-way air seats available each week, a +5% increase in capacity on summer 2018.

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  Tourism Minister Shane Ross; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Joan O'Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, at the Dublin launch of Tourism Ireland's 2019 marketing plans.

Notes To Editors

Tourism Ireland’s focus in 2019
Tourism Ireland has identified a number of strategic areas to underpin its promotional activity in 2019. These include:

  • Sustainable destination marketing: The island of Ireland now welcomes more visitors from around the globe than ever before. Tourism of this scale provides great benefits to our economy; however, there is an opportunity to spread this success across the year and more equitably around the entire island. Not only will this benefit more local communities, it will also ensure we continue to deliver our renowned Irish welcome and outstanding visitor experience. Tourism Ireland has developed a set of sustainability principles to guide its marketing programmes into the future. These include:
    • a greater focus on less visited attractions and locations that have overseas appeal, such as Diamond Hill in Connemara, Achill Island and Fanad Head Lighthouse.
    • driving business in the off-peak and shoulder seasons; and 
    • co-operative activity with carriers, industry partners and the travel trade overseas that drives either regional growth or season extension.
  • New global campaign: Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ – will refresh and reinvigorate the presentation of the island of Ireland overseas. It aims to connect more emotionally with prospective visitors, by inviting them to ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’, with the promise that spending time here will help restore their lust for life. The campaign will feature a range of less visited attractions and locations and will highlight the passions that research shows motivate our target audience, such as landscapes and heritage; and will dial up activities like walking, cycling and kayaking. This is Tourism Ireland’s first major campaign in seven years; its ‘Jump Into Ireland’ campaign was developed in 2011 and has played its part in delivering seven years of consecutive growth in overseas tourism. 
  • Digital and social media: In 2019, Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its strength in digital and social media. The organisation will re-develop its international website, Ireland.com – for roll-out in 2020 – to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s. The new technology will also allow Tourism Ireland to re-target visitors and potential visitors with personalised messages and offers, designed to appeal to their specific interests. Tourism Ireland is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook (4.3 million fans), number four on Twitter (504,000 followers) and number four on YouTube (49.3 million views).
  • Global Ireland 2025: In the context of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative, Tourism Ireland will implement its US, German, emerging markets and British market growth strategies. This will see the organisation expand its operations in China – with new representation in Hong Kong – and increase its marketing activity in the US and Canada, as well as in emerging markets like Japan (particularly around the Rugby World Cup). 
  • Leverage once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for Northern Ireland: The final series of Game of Thrones will air in spring 2019; Tourism Ireland is planning a year-long programme of activity to maximise this opportunity. And, Tourism Ireland will also take every opportunity to highlight The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.
  • International publicity: Tourism Ireland will ramp up its publicity programme around the world – placing increased focus on digital channels and working more closely with online media, including bloggers. We will work in partnership with Disney, on the launch of its new big screen adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, which is set here. This year, Tourism Ireland’s publicity activities generated thousands of articles and broadcasts, worth an estimated €330 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2019: 2018 will mark the 10th year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative – when hundreds of iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated in green to celebrate our national day.