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04 Nov 2019

Tourism Ireland ramps up 2020 drive with record presence at world’s largest travel fair

Tourism Ireland’s promotions aim to continue to grow overseas visitor numbers in 2020, despite Brexit uncertainty

80 Irish tourism enterprises engage in thousands of meetings at World Travel Market, as they negotiate business for 2020

A major tourism push for 2020 kicks off today (4 November), as 80 Irish tourism businesses join Tourism Ireland in London, at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM). World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with around 51,000 travel professionals from 182 countries and regions around the world attending, including 3,000 international travel media. 

Given that recent research undertaken by Tourism Ireland confirms a heightened risk of consumers postponing holidays – due to the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit – World Travel Market has never been more important for Irish tourism than it is this year. WTM is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar – and the 80-strong delegation represents Ireland’s largest ever presence at the event. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD will also attend WTM tomorrow (5 November). 

In response to the Brexit challenge for Irish tourism, the Government recently allocated an additional €6 million to Tourism Ireland in Budget 2020. This additional funding will be used for new, end-of-year promotional campaigns – designed to deliver a message of reassurance to prospective visitors in Britain and around the world. It will also include strong kick-start campaigns in our key markets, to position us well for 2020.

New campaigns and activity will include:
  • In Britain, Tourism Ireland will amplify its Q4 ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’ campaign – reaching an additional 14 million prospective visitors – through a major advertising blitz, involving national TV and outdoor poster adverts, running immediately after Christmas, an important period for travel searching and booking for British holidaymakers.
  • In the US, a five-week TV campaign will run on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver and Boston (ads will run for two weeks in November, around the Thanksgiving holiday, and again in December, for three weeks). TV ads will also run in New York, San Francisco and Seattle during the final week of 2019. Targeting the ‘culturally curious’ traveller, the TV campaign will deliver around 71 million impressions (opportunities to see).
  • In Germany, a TV campaign will run 23-31 December, reaching an estimated 6.4 million viewers; it will be complemented by extensive digital advertising. 
  • In France, a TV campaign will kick off in mid-December during peak viewing times; and a digital video campaign will roll out during the last two weeks of the year.
  • Digital “Fill Your Heart with Ireland” campaigns will also be undertaken in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries between Christmas and New Year. 

Tourism Ireland will launch its full marketing programme for 2020 to the wider Irish industry early in December. In 2019, the organisation invested €45 million on promotions in Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and emerging tourism markets. 

However, the uncertainty around Brexit is a very real and ongoing challenge for Irish tourism, giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets. Recent research, undertaken by RedC on behalf of Tourism Ireland in Britain, France and Germany, has revealed how the continued uncertainty about Brexit is affecting people’s travel plans in those countries – and, in turn, Irish tourism. 

The survey found that:
  • 30% of British people – that’s three in ten potential holidaymakers – say they are planning to book their holidays later than they normally would, which is twice the number in 2017.
  • 15% of British travellers say they will take fewer short breaks outside the UK in the next 12 months, versus 10% two years ago.
  • More than half of the British people surveyed said they’ll spend less while on holiday, because of the weaker pound.
  • 17% of those surveyed in Germany said they are less likely to visit the Republic of Ireland; and 25% less likely to visit Northern Ireland.
  • 13% of those surveyed in France said they are less likely to visit the Republic of Ireland; and 17% less likely to visit Northern Ireland.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “World Travel Market has perhaps never been more important for us than it is this year. So, the record number of Irish tourism companies attending this year is extremely welcome – particularly given the uncertainty around Brexit and the hugely competitive marketplace in which we’re operating. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays in Ireland more expensive for British visitors – and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top source markets. On top of that, our research shows that many British, French and German travellers are likely to delay their holiday decisions next year, because of the uncertainty around Brexit. 

“However, as our nearest neighbour, Britain remains an extremely important market for tourism to the island of Ireland. We know that it’s a market with a strong affinity with Ireland and that British visitors are more likely to visit Ireland all year round and to travel more widely around our regions, including border areas, more than other visitors. 

“Our message – and that of the entire Irish tourism industry – is very simple. Whatever happens with Brexit, our welcome will continue to be as genuinely warm as ever; our people will continue to be funny and full of chat; and our landscapes will continue to take your breath away. Together with our industry, we will be marketing hard in Britain and across the world to deliver that message – from now right through 2020 – and to provide the reassurance that potential visitors and our travel trade partners overseas need to hear.”

The Irish tourism operators attending the three-day WTM will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2020. Organisers estimate that, in total, £3 billion’s (about €3.46 billion’s) worth of business was done at last year’s WTM. 
  Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chair of Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; and Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, at World Travel Market in London.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing around 325,000 people across the island.
  • In 2018, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+5% on 2017), delivering revenue of €5.86 billion (+5%).
  • In 2018, €2.1 billion was returned to the exchequer in tourism taxes. 
  • Fáilte Ireland estimates that a hard Brexit is set to cost Ireland’s tourism industry €390 million.

Previous Press Release

03 Nov 2019

French TV crew checks out Northern Ireland