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23 Sep 2021

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin promotes Ireland in the United States

Tourism Ireland lays the foundations for strong return in growth from USA market in 2022

Tourism Ireland’s new ‘Green Button’ marketing campaign will go live next week in the USA

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin will join Tourism Ireland in Chicago and New York this week. She will undertake a busy programme of tourism, sporting and cultural engagements to promote Ireland.

This will be the first major in-person series of promotional events undertaken by Tourism Ireland in the United States, since the outbreak of COVID-19. The aim of the visit is to position us well for 2022 and to create ‘stand-out’ for Ireland against competitor destinations.

Over the coming days, Minister Martin’s schedule will include:
  •  business roundtable lunches with leading travel trade, carrier and media contacts in Chicago and New York
  •  promoting Ireland at the Ryder Cup 2020 at Whistling Straits;
  • meetings with the organisers of the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest, as well as with representatives of Notre Dame Athletics and the Notre Dame Institute for Irish Studies;
  • a meeting with Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Partnership Group, who are key representatives of the US travel sector;
  • meeting with Irish artists at the Irish Arts Center in New York; and
  • a programme of interviews with travel, sport and Diaspora media outlets in Chicago and New York.
The United States is the second-largest source market for tourism to the island of Ireland. In 2019, we welcomed 1.7 million American visitors to the island of Ireland. It is our most important market in terms of revenue, responsible for 27% of all tourist revenue. Revenue generated by American visitors in 2019 was €1.6 billion.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said: “I am very pleased to come to the US this week to lend my support to Tourism Ireland’s efforts to get tourism going again from the United States into Ireland. My schedule includes key engagements with travel trade, airline interests and the media as we thankfully roll out the green carpet for US tourists once more.

“I also have engagements relating to other areas of my portfolio including cultural and sporting interests. I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities the Ryder Cup will present when it returns to Ireland in 2027.

“My message this week will be that we are open for business and looking forward to welcoming Americans back to Ireland. I know that Tourism Ireland has put a huge amount of work into the Green Button campaign and I have no doubt that it will resonate with our American friends. Now that our economy and society has reopened, it is opportune to show Americans what they have been missing.”

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Minister Martin is joining us for the first time in the United States. We believe the time is now right to get back out into the international marketplace. Over the coming days, Minister Martin will have the opportunity to hear about the importance of the USA market at first-hand from our key media, travel trade and carrier partners. She will be assuring them that we look forward to working closely with them in the months and years ahead – to rebuild tourism from the USA to Ireland, for the long-term sustainable future of our industry.

“Our focus is on rebuilding consumer confidence, in order to drive a strong recovery. Restoring air connectivity is also a key priority for us in the USA; as an island destination, connectivity is critical for the success of inbound tourism. The United States is a fiercely competitive market; every destination has experienced the impact of COVID and is now seeking their share of the recovery. We will be pulling out all the stops to set the island of Ireland apart from our competitor destinations. From next week, we will roll out our new ‘Green Button’ campaign in the USA, to re-start tourism and encourage Americans to book Ireland as their next holiday destination. The €4 million campaign will target six key gateways and 11 priority cities, to reach and engage audiences who have the highest potential to travel to the island of Ireland. Our message is that we cannot wait to welcome back American visitors to Ireland, for a fantastic vacation experience.”

Tourism Ireland’s ‘Green Button’ campaign will go live in the US on 27 September, to re-start tourism and encourage Americans to book Ireland as their next holiday destination. The €4.1 million campaign will target six key gateways and 11 priority cities, to reach and engage audiences who have the highest potential to travel to the island of Ireland.

  Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Catherine Martin; and Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, unveil Tourism Ireland’s new ‘Green Button’ promotional campaign in New York. The campaign aims to re-start tourism and encourage Americans to book Ireland for their next holiday.

Notes To Editors

Tourism Ireland will undertake an extensive programme of activity, to promote the island of Ireland and restart tourism from the United States.

‘Green Button’ campaign – TV and digital advertising

  • Tourism Ireland’s ‘Green Button’ campaign will go live in the US on 27 September, to re-start tourism and encourage Americans to book Ireland as their next holiday destination. The €4.1 million campaign will target six key gateways and 11 priority cities, to reach and engage audiences who have the highest potential to travel to the island of Ireland. It is scheduled to run through early January 2022. The multi-channel campaign will run on TV, digital and social media, to drive maximum impact. It will include:
- ads on TV, Connected TV (television that can stream digital content) and digital streaming, to meet the evolving TV consumption habits of US viewers. The ads will be broadcast – on air and online – around popular programmes on leading TV networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and San Francisco. Ads will also run on leading streaming services Hulu, WarnerMedia and Sling. This element of the campaign will deliver over 123 million impressions (opportunities to see). 
- digital activity will include online video, display and social media advertising, as well as partnerships with leading platforms, publications and travel sites, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TripAdvisor, Travelzoo and Hearst Media (which includes the online versions of Elle, Esquire and Town & Country). The digital element of the ‘Green Button’ campaign will deliver over 164 million impressions (opportunities to see). 
Golf promotions
  •  Promotional partnerships targeting the high value golf sector kicked off in May and will run through year end. They include:
    - a campaign on the hugely popular NBC Golf Channel. Three 60-second golf videos are running on TV, and online on, around the Majors and priority tournaments, including the PGA Championship, US Open, Open Championship and Ryder Cup. The campaign is designed to showcase Ireland’s world-class golf links, as well as our “golf and more / 19th hole” experience, and to encourage future travel. The campaign will deliver 17 million impressions in total. 
    - a new partnership with Golf Digest. This kicked off in September and will run through December. It involves a series of videos fronted by Matt Ginella (former NBC Golf Channel travel expert), which will be promoted extensively across the digital platforms of Golf Digest, including on its YouTube channel. This partnership will deliver over 6 million impressions.
Targeting the Diaspora
  • Tourism Ireland’s activity to engage the all-important Diaspora audience in the United States is focused on building urgency to begin planning and to get back to the things that matter most – reconnecting with family and friends and enjoying the very best of Ireland, including our food, culture, heritage and ‘craic’. Activity includes advertising in key Diaspora print and online media outlets, such as, the Irish Voice, The Irish Herald, The Irish Echo and Irish American News, from September through end of November.  This audience is important, as they are likely to travel first and can play an important role in sharing positive experiences about their time in Ireland post-pandemic, thereby helping to influence friends and families to start planning a trip to Ireland. 
Social media and email marketing
  • Tourism Ireland continues to deliver relevant and timely information about the island of Ireland via social media and email marketing. The content aims to inspire and raise awareness of the island of Ireland, with an increased focus on driving intention to travel and actively planning a vacation to Ireland.
  • On social media, Tourism Ireland has an engaged following of almost 1.5 million Facebook fans around the United States; and over 72,000 Twitter followers.
  • Email marketing reaches over 110,000 potential US holidaymakers on Tourism Ireland’s consumer database each week.
Partnering with non-travel brands
  • Tourism Ireland will continue its strategy of reaching its target audience in new and unexpected ways, by partnering with high profile, non-travel brands.
  • Tourism Ireland will partner with Riverdance, as part of its 25th anniversary tour in the US in 2022 (152 performances in 52 cities). Activity will include inspirational Ireland video content playing on screen to audiences, before each of the 152 performances; joint publicity promotions in New York and Washington DC around St Patrick’s Day; as well as the creation of a new video featuring some of the dancers at iconic locations in Ireland, which will be shared on Tourism Ireland’s social media channels.
  • In 2022, US College Football will return to Ireland, when Northwestern University in Illinois (Wildcats) will take on the University of Nebraska (Cornhuskers) in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, kicking off the 2022 College Football season. The game is expected to attract approximately 23,000 fans and will play an important role in driving our tourism recovery from the US. A programme of promotional activity, including TV, outdoor, radio, print, social and digital ads, as well as influencer activity, will get under way in Q4 2021, targeting the fans and alumni of Northwestern and Nebraska, encouraging them to travel to Dublin and Ireland next summer for the ‘trip of a lifetime’. The game will also be promoted on Tourism Ireland’s own channels – on, on social and via email marketing.
Co-operative marketing with key travel partners
  • Co-branded and jointly-funded campaigns with airlines which serve Ireland from the US (Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines) will go live from September and into Q4 2021, to stimulate demand, generate bookings and support the sustainability of the transatlantic routes. Activity will include in-flight promotions; email marketing to frequent flyer databases; and outdoor, digital and social media advertising.
  • Tourism Ireland is also partnering with leading tour operators such as Collette Vacations, DH Tours, CIE Tours International, Brendan Vacations, Indus and Tenon Tours. The campaigns will run from September to December and will include a mix of activity, including advertising on digital and social channels, influencer programmes, as well as offers on travel deals platforms like Travelzoo and ShermansTravel, to drive bookings.
  • Tourism Ireland is working with Peter Greenberg, the CBS travel correspondent. Activity includes sponsorship of a one-hour docu-series called Hidden Ireland on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) TV; two x three-hour shows on CBS Radio titled Eye on Travel; and a satellite media broadcast tour in Ireland. The projected reach of the show on PBS is 260 million viewers. In addition, Peter Greenberg will share content about Ireland on his social media channels (over 310,000 followers).
  • In August, US actor Bill Murray visited Ireland – filming a new season of a golf series called The Links Life. The golf travel documentary will air on YouTube and other major streaming platforms in early 2022 and will highlight some of our top golf courses. Viewers will see Bill Murray – with the show’s presenter, author Tom Coyne – play a number of courses around Ireland – including Druids Glen, the O’Meara course at Carton House, Carne Golf Links, Portsalon, the new St Patrick’s Links course at Rosapenna, Cruit Island, Narin & Portnoo, Enniscrone, Connemara, Galway Bay Golf Resort and Ballybunion.
  • Tourism Ireland will partner with Steller, the world’s largest travel storytelling platform, to highlight our new ‘Green Button’ campaign to influencers, in Q4. This collaboration with Steller also offers additional opportunities for holiday bookings to Ireland, via their association with Trivago. 
  • Tourism Ireland will promote the island of Ireland to influential travel editors and journalists, at the Society of American Travel Writers Conference, in October; and at the Travel Classics (prestigious travel writers’ conference), in November.
  • Tourism Ireland will highlight Ireland as the ‘Home of Halloween’ in October to leading travel and lifestyle journalists across the US. An ‘electronic press kit’ will be sent to a targeted list of 10,000+ journalists, offering relevant Irish guests to do interviews on US radio and TV stations. In addition, Tourism Ireland will coordinate a satellite media tour in Ireland, offering live TV interviews with Irish tourism ‘ambassadors’. Around 20 top TV stations will be offered a virtual tour of Ireland for Halloween, via this remote satellite tour, with a projected audience of over 10 million viewers.
  • Tourism Ireland is collaborating with Enterprise Ireland to showcase Irish designers in the US through QVC (TV shopping channel with over 100 million subscribers). Products from some of our top brands, as well as our spectacular landscape, will be seen on three live ‘Made in Ireland’ shows that will be made available through QVC’s broadcasts, streaming service, mobile apps, social pages and website. The first ‘Made in Ireland’ broadcast was from Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry, in September; the second will be from Dublin, in December; and the third on St Patrick’s Day 2022.
Working with the US travel trade
  • Tourism Ireland’s programme of communications with key tour operator, travel agent and airline partners across the US continues. Tourism Ireland is in regular contact with these partners, to provide reassurance and to give updates about product on the ground in Ireland, health and safety protocols and travel restrictions.
  • As part of its new ‘Green Button’ campaign, Tourism Ireland is working with tour operators, to highlight their special offers in Tourism Ireland’s campaign activity, as well as on, to drive bookings. In addition, a special ‘Green Button’ toolkit will be shared with Tourism Ireland’s database of approximately 12,000 travel agents and over 450 tour operators, to get them involved in the campaign and encourage US travellers to book a trip to Ireland, via their business.
  • Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Tourism Ireland has held a series of virtual events for the US travel trade, to keep Ireland ‘top of mind’ and to create opportunities for them to connect with our tourism industry partners in Ireland. Since January 2021, Tourism Ireland has reached over 6,400 travel agents across the US. In July, Tourism Ireland organised a Luxury and Outdoor Adventure Showcase, with 14 tourism companies from Ireland connecting with 500+ travel advisors across the US. 
  • The USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association) Annual Conference & Marketplace will take place in San Diego, in December; this is an annual event which brings together the leading North American tour operators. Tourism Ireland will organise a networking reception, promoting Ireland as the ideal choice for the tour operators’ clients in 2022 and beyond.
  • Tourism Ireland will hold a one-day virtual Ireland Expo, in October, when approximately 30 industry partners from Ireland will have the opportunity to connect and do business with over 500 leading travel agents from across North America. 
  • Monthly webinars for the US travel trade, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI, will continue in Q4. Upcoming themes will include ancestry, affinity group travel and golf. Each webinar has an average attendance of 400+ travel agents.
Business tourism promotions
  • In August, email marketing reached over 4,200 US business tourism buyers, highlighting our wellness and outdoor activities.
  •  In October, Tourism Ireland will attend the Global Incentive Summit and participate in one-to-one meetings with key business tourism buyers from across North America.
  • Planning is also under way for IMEX America, in November – an important event to highlight the island of Ireland to influential MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) buyers.

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