Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is visiting the United States this week and yesterday (Thursday, 26 September) he took the time to support Tourism Ireland’s promotional efforts on the west coast, when he met some of the leading tour operators and airlines based in Los Angeles who programme and sell holidays to Ireland.
The United States is one of the greatest contributors of visitors and tourism revenue to the island of Ireland. And, outbound travel from the US to the island of Ireland has grown faster than to many of our competitor destinations – so that today, one in ten American travellers to Europe now visits Ireland.
Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Corporate Services, Policy & Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is with us in Los Angeles, meeting with some of the key travel decision-makers here and reminding them about the many great reasons to visit the island of Ireland.
“Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. The most recent CSO figures, for January-August, indicate growth of +5% in arrivals from North America over the same eight-month period last year. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of targeted promotional activity to continue to grow North American visitor numbers and, in particular, to encourage more holidaymakers to explore our regions and less-visited attractions, during the shoulder and off-season months.”
Tourism Ireland has set its sights on continued growth from the US for 2019 and is rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout the year. Phase two of Tourism Ireland’s new ad campaign, ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’, rolled out on major American television networks – including NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC – in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Hartford, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Seattle, during the summer; the campaign was specially timed to better align with when American travellers start searching for fall and winter vacation ideas.
Tourism Ireland continues to work with airlines serving the island of Ireland from the United States this autumn. The organisation’s publicity programme in the US will generate positive coverage for the island of Ireland this year worth more than €160 million in equivalent advertising value.
Our important ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences are being targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests. Tourism Ireland is creating ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland’s Ancient East, Belfast and Dublin. Promotions are helping grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Michael Kennedy, Aer Lingus; Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland; and Mike Hawe, Isle Inn Tours, at a Tourism Ireland breakfast event in Los Angeles for tour operators and airlines.
Notes To Editors
- Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
- Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and 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 approximately €5.86 billion (+5%).
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.