Irish people urged to ‘make a break for it’ in domestic tourism push

Fáilte Ireland will promote post-lockdown holidays in new €2.5m campaign

Fáilte Ireland will this weekend launch a €2.5 million marketing push using the slogan "Ireland, make a break for it" to persuade more people to book a domestic holiday.

Amid concerns that many will sit out the summer season, the tourism authority wants to signal that it is permissible to travel across Ireland, while also observing that our first post-lockdown holidays could yield powerful emotions and memories.

"The idea behind it is that Ireland has never felt bigger. Going to Bantry now is like going to Bali," said Ali Levins, Fáilte Ireland's head of marketing communications.

A 30-second television ad will debut during Saturday’s Six-One news on RTÉ One, with video-on-demand ads running throughout the weekend ahead of the removal of coronavirus travel limits on Monday.


On Sunday, Fáilte Ireland will begin its biggest print campaign for years, with ads giving information “on what’s on and what’s open”, while celebrity influencers have also been recruited.


Later phases will target “unconstrained adults” who typically holiday overseas as well as older age groups, but the campaign will initially promote “the urgency of taking a break while summer is still here” to parents of school-age children.

The TV ad shows families hauling out luggage, optimistically packing sunscreen and checking for last-minute toilet needs as the “lockdown” period on their calendar turns to “holiday” and they escape to the open road.

Ms Levins said Fáilte Ireland wanted to capture some of the excitement seen when certain shops reopened and “imagine how we would feel about getting back out to the country”.

Although compliance with Government guidelines has been high, Irish people have also felt a certain loss of personal autonomy during the crisis, she added. The line “make a break for it” aims to give them permission to get away.

“There’s a wink to it,” she said. “The inherent desire to go on holiday is strong, but people are waiting for a signal.”

Booking patterns

Evidence to date indicates holidaymakers won’t find it hard to socially distance in Irish tourist destinations. Fáilte Ireland’s research suggests just 16 per cent have booked a break. More than 70 per cent say they would consider a domestic holiday, but only 57 per cent say they intend to do so. In the absence of international custom, capacity remains high.

“It is not a crowded island by any stretch of the imagination,” Ms Levins said.

Fáilte Ireland worked with creative agency Rothco on the ad, which was made by production company Antidote and directed by Brendan Canty.

The authority was forced to abandon what would have been a €6 million “Keep Discovering” campaign soon after it launched in late February as travel restrictions were introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus. It hopes to return to it in October.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics