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06 Sep 2021

Tourism Ireland launches £5M promotional campaign in GB

New promotional blitz targets travellers in GB for short breaks and holidays in Northern Ireland

Campaign will be seen by millions and reach 80% of all adults in GB

Tourism Ireland has launched a £5 million, multi-media promotional campaign, to boost travel to Northern Ireland from GB over the coming months. The campaign, which is running under the banner ‘Northern Ireland – Embrace a Giant Spirit’, will be seen by millions and will reach at least 80% of all adults in GB. It will generate demand now and drive bookings for short breaks and holidays in Northern Ireland.

The extensive campaign will include advertising on major TV channels and on catch-up TV sites; digital outdoor advertising at more than 500 locations across GB; ads on popular digital and social channels; a partnership with The Guardian; as well as a busy programme of publicity. Co-operative promotions with air and sea carriers, as well as online travel agents, are also under way. 

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA, said: “Tourism is an enormously important industry for Northern Ireland and a key driver of our economy. In fact, before the pandemic hit us all, 2019 was the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland, when we welcomed over 2.2 million overseas visitors, a significant number of which came from the GB market. 

“We have a terrific product for visitors on offer across Northern Ireland, including the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route, the historic city of Londonderry, the fantastic lakelands of Fermanagh, and, of course, our capital city, Belfast, with our maritime history highlighted at Titanic Belfast, a truly world-class visitor attraction. 

“The GB market is a vitally important one for our tourism industry and I am confident that this campaign will show the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer. With the TV ads alone set to be viewed by almost 13 million people across GB, I believe this campaign will help convince tourists to visit Northern Ireland. Our tour operators, visitor attractions and accommodation providers have worked hard to introduce new safety measures and precautions to help ensure visitors and staff are kept safe.”


Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to unveil our new £5 million campaign to promote Northern Ireland in GB – which will highlight our great cities, spectacular scenery and the many things to see and do here. As we begin to rebuild our tourism business from the all-important GB market, our aim is to remind prospective visitors that Northern Ireland is the perfect destination for a short break or holiday. Tourism Ireland will be pulling out all the stops to drive as much business as possible to Northern Ireland over the coming months.”

GB is an important market for tourism to Northern Ireland. Before COVID-19, in 2019, we welcomed almost 1.5 million GB visitors to Northern Ireland, whose visits generated £369 million in revenue.
  Pictured at the Giant's Causeway are (l-r) Christopher Brooke, Vice-Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Gordon Lyons MLA, Minister for the Economy; Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland; and Esther Dobbin, Giant's Causeway, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s promotional campaign to boost travel to Northern Ireland from GB.

Notes To Editors

Highlights of Tourism Ireland’s £5 million campaign include:

TV and video-on-demand advertising

  • Tourism Ireland’s Northern Ireland TV ad will run during September, airing on major channels like ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Dave. The ad will be seen by 12.8 million people across GB. Click here to view the ad. 
  • The ad will also run on Video on Demand TV and on catch-up TV sites, reaching an additional 5.6 million people. 

Outdoor advertising
  • Digital outdoor ads will run on panels at more than 500 locations across GB – in bus shelters, city pedestrian shopping areas, railway stations and on the roadside. 
  • Locations will include six ‘feature’ sites in the key cities of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow – with really high impact ads highlighting holidays in Northern Ireland. 

Digital and social advertising
  • Ads on social channels, as well as on a range of popular websites such as BBC Good Food, The Independent, Daily Mail, The Sun and Metro. This element of the campaign will deliver 64 million impressions (opportunities to see) and 13 million video views. 

New partnership with The Guardian
  • Following previous successful partnerships, Tourism Ireland will once again roll out a major digital campaign with The Guardian. It aims to inspire a desire for a holiday or short break to Northern Ireland, offering interesting, entertaining and informative content to readers of The Guardian
  • This element of the campaign is expected to reach 2.6 million people. 
  • A key element of this partnership involves two videos, created in spring 2021, showcasing what Northern Ireland has to offer through the lens of two celebrities, Saoirse-Monica Jackson (best known for portraying Erin Quinn in Derry Girls) and broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, who front the videos. 
  • The partnership with The Guardian will also include: 
    • a bespoke Northern Ireland page on The Guardian website;
    • online ads on the lifestyle and travel section of The Guardian website to drive readers to the bespoke page; and
    • posts on the social channels of The Guardian – and on Tourism Ireland’s social channels – to highlight the content.

Co-operative marketing with carriers and online travel agents (OTAs)
  • Campaigns with key carrier partners and online travel agents (OTAs) will focus on driving travel to Northern Ireland over the coming months, highlighting ease of access and the good value on offer.
  • Activity is either under way or in the pipeline with Loganair, easyJet, P&O Ferries, Stena Line and British Airways; and with TripAdvisor, lastminute.com, Expedia and Hotels.com. 

Advertorials promoting Northern Ireland to the GB travel trade
  • Advertorials will highlight Nrthern Ireland to tour operators and travel agents in publications like Travel Weekly and TTG.  
  • The articles will deliver a reassurance message (including the “We're Good to Go” industry standard implemented by tourism and hospitality businesses across Northern Ireland). They will also highlight great city breaks in Northern Ireland, as well as our spectacular coastline and wide open spaces. 

Pilot initiative with Albatross Travel 
  • Tourism Ireland, in partnership with Tourism NI, has developed a pilot initiative to assist in the recovery of coach and group tour business from GB to Northern Ireland.
  • Working with Albatross Travel (an important coach tour wholesaler, specialising in group travel in the UK and around Europe), the initiative involves a value-added voucher promotion, to incentivise new coach tour business to Northern Ireland. The aim is to drive new business – with the GB coach tour operators having an incentive to book more of their business to Northern Ireland. 
  • On day one in Northern Ireland, each person in the coach tour group will receive a £20 voucher, which can be spent at a wide range of outlets. Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI will co-fund the initiative.

Publicity spotlight
  • Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn, targeting national and regional print, broadcast and online media and influencers around GB, with positive stories about Northern Ireland.  
  • Tourism Ireland has invited leading GB journalists to visit Northern Ireland over the coming months, including The Guardian and BBC Radio Berkshire. Recent visits by GB journalists have helped generate significant positive coverage about Northern Ireland – reaching millions of readers in major titles like The Times, The Independent, The Scotsman, Travel Weekly and The Guardian.
  • Tourism Ireland – in conjunction with Tourism NI – supported the production of a new four-part TV series, presented by Siobhan McSweeney (best known for her role as Sister Michael in Derry Girls). Called Exploring Northern Ireland with Siobhan McSweeney, the series began airing on More4 on 12 August. Episode one featured Strangford Lough and Belfast; episode two featured the Mourne Mountains and Armagh; episode three was filmed along the Causeway Coastal Route and in Londonderry; and episode four was filmed in Fermanagh and the Sperrins.
  • Tourism Ireland also supported the production of a new season of the popular TV series The Car Years, which began airing on ITV4, in July. With an estimated 1.5 million viewers per episode, the entire eight-part series was filmed in Northern Ireland. Each week, viewers have been seeing various classic cars put through their paces on some of the most picturesque driving routes in Northern Ireland – including the Causeway Coastal Route and the roads in the Mournes.