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20 Aug 2019

Tourism Ireland launches £11M autumn campaign (NI version)

~ Autumn promotional blitz targets late-season travellers around the world ~

Tourism Ireland has launched an £11 million, multi-media autumn campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world. The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of our annual overseas tourism business. A key objective for Tourism Ireland is to drive more overseas tourism business to more rural areas, throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months. 
  • Addressing the challenges of Brexit
Brexit remains an ongoing challenge for overseas tourism – giving rise to consumer concern, particularly in GB and some Mainland European countries. However, the fall in the value of sterling is an opportunity for Northern Ireland; and Tourism Ireland will highlight the good value on offer from industry partners, including attractive fares and packages – in GB and in other markets. An extensive programme of co-operative promotions with air and sea carriers, online travel agents, as well as traditional tour operators and travel agents, is either under way or in the pipeline. 
  • Major focus on off-peak travel to more rural areas
Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign will incorporate a major focus on attracting visitors to more rural areas and our less visited attractions and locations, between now and the end of 2019. It will highlight the many reasons to come here – including festivals and events taking place over the coming months like the Belfast International Arts Festival, the Armagh Food & Cider Festival and the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a really good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening here. One of our key objectives is to drive more business to our more rural areas, right throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months.
“Brexit remains an ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern particularly in GB and some Mainland European markets. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our industry colleagues.
“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. We continue to work hard to maximise the success of winter air and sea routes. We will promote Northern Ireland through our sales missions to the United States, Canada and the UAE. In addition, Tourism Ireland will bring top overseas travel agents and tour operators here this autumn, to meet with locala tourism businesses and negotiate inclusion in their 2020 brochures and programmes.”
Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign is being rolled out in North America, Mainland Europe, GB, Australia and emerging tourism markets.
Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland’s Northern Ireland Stakeholder Liaison Manager (centre), with German holidaymakers Nicola and Tom, at Dunluce Castle, at the Northern Ireland launch of Tourism Ireland’s Autumn Campaign 2019.

Notes To Editors

Highlights of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign include:

  • Northern Ireland showcase in Bayeux: Tourism Ireland’s hand-crafted Game of Thrones Tapestry is travelling to Bayeux in Normandy, home of the world-famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry, this autumn. The Game of Thrones Tapestry will go on display near its historic counterpart – which was a key source of inspiration for its new neighbour. Tourism Ireland will take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland and our strong connection with the hugely popular TV series. On 13 September, on the opening day of the exhibition, Tourism Ireland will organise a press conference and Northern Ireland showcase event in Bayeux; around 100 French and international journalists are expected to attend.
  • ‘Slow Road’ campaign promotes the Causeway Coastal Route across Mainland Europe: Tourism Ireland’s new ‘Slow Road’ campaign will roll out in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Nordic region, from early September. It will encourage ‘culturally curious’ holidaymakers in those countries to take the ‘slow road’ and to come and discover the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route this autumn. The campaign will highlight some of the many great reasons to visit in the off-season months – including our spectacular scenery and landscapes, rich heritage and culture, our Game of Thrones filming locations, as well as our superb culinary offering. It will also highlight the good value on offer here, promoting more than 40 great offers from Northern Ireland tourism operators. The ‘Slow Road’ campaign includes:
    • email marketing to Tourism Ireland’s database of 2.1 million consumers across Mainland Europe;
    • extensive social media activity, highlighting the Causeway Coastal Route on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories;
    • a major PR and publicity push: popular European bloggers and influencers will be invited by Tourism Ireland to visit – and, in turn, to encourage their fans and followers to come and explore Northern Ireland for themselves; and
    • a dedicated ‘Slow Road’ section on the various language versions of Tourism Ireland’s website,
  • Targeting the Ulster Scots in the US: Promotion to the Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots) will continue in the US as part of Tourism Ireland’s strategy to encourage this niche audience ‘to come home to the land of their ancestors’. In October, six Northern Ireland heritage specialists will join Tourism Ireland, as well as two US tour operators and food expert and author Judith McLoughlin, at this year’s Stone Mountain Highland Games outside Atlanta, Georgia. As well as a Tourism Ireland stand at the games, a luncheon event will highlight Northern Ireland to local travel professionals and journalists.
  • Taste the Island international launch with celebrity chefs Clodagh McKenna and Stevie Higginson: Tourism Ireland will undertake an extensive programme of activity around the world to highlight the exciting new Taste the Island initiative. For example:
    • On 7 September, Tourism Ireland will launch Taste the Island in GB with Clodagh McKenna and Northern Ireland chef Stephen Higginson (head chef and proprietor of the Square Bistro in Lisburn). Together, they will create a special ‘harvest lunch’ in the grounds of Clodagh’s home, Broadspear House in Highclere Park; leading GB food writers and influencers, as well as broadcast journalists, will attend.
    • The French launch of Taste the Island will take place in Lyon, often referred to as the gastronomic capital of France, also in September.
    • And, 12 top tour operators from GB, Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands will participate in a ‘Taste the Island’ fact-finding ‘foodie’ visit, in October.
  • Fill Your Heart With Ireland: Tourism Ireland’s ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ campaign continues to roll out around the world this autumn. The campaign is back on TV, on catch-up TV sites, in cinemas, in prominent outdoor locations, as well as on digital and social platforms – reaching millions of potential visitors in our major markets.
  • Dialling up the value message: an extensive programme of co-operative promotions with air and sea carriers – including Ryanair, easyJet. Flybe and P&O Ferries – will highlight ease of access to Northern Ireland and attractive fares for autumn and winter.
  • Capitalising on the Rugby World Cup in Japan: Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland will be promoted to key Japanese tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists at two events – a reception in Tokyo on 27 September; and an event in Fukuroi, in advance of the Ireland v Japan match, on 28 September. 
  • Sales blitzes to the US and Canada: Tourism Ireland will target hundreds of travel agents on the west coast of the US – in Seattle, San Diego and San Fernando Valley; and in Canada – in London (south-west Ontario), Ottawa and Montreal.
  • Highlighting our luxury offering: Tourism Ireland will showcase our luxury tourism offering at various promotions and events – including ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) in Cannes, the Private Luxury Forum (PLF) in Montenegro, a luxury sales mission to the UAE and a showcase event in Paris for luxury French travel buyers.
  • Flavours of Ireland: a B2B workshop will target business from our long-haul markets through influential UK-based inbound tour operators.
  • World Travel Market 2019: Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar.