PR tender issued in effort to attract more British tourists

Tourism Ireland says opportunities to entice visitors from Britain persist despite Brexit

Of the 11.2 million who visited Ireland in 2018, 4.7 million came from Britain.

Of the 11.2 million who visited Ireland in 2018, 4.7 million came from Britain.

 

Tourism chiefs are stepping up efforts to lure British visitors to Ireland amid Brexit.

Tourism Ireland, whose role is to market Ireland as a holiday and business destination overseas, has issued a tender for public relation services in Britain.

The body said that while Brexit poses significant challenges, there are still plenty of opportunities to entice visitors here.

“While it is a very unpredictable time in Great Britain at the moment, there is business to be won,” Tourism Ireland said in its tender notice.

The agency said it is carrying out its first comprehensive review of the British market since 2012.

The agency’s chief executive, Niall Gibbons, told The Irish Times that the focus was on maintaining rather than growing visitor numbers from Britain.

Of the 11.2 million people who visited Ireland last year, some 4.7 million of them came from Britain.

Key market

“From a volume perspective, it is our most important market although it isn’t as valuable as North America or Europe in terms of spend. What makes the market valuable to us is because 43 per cent of visitors come during the off-season,” said Mr Gibbons.

Tourism Ireland’s promotion budget for Britain has increased to more than €7 million for 2019, allowing the body to advertise on television for the first time in years. While the budget has increased, the new PR contract is worth significantly less than previously. The last PR contract awarded was valued at £250,000 (€285,000) per year, rather than £100,000.

Visitor numbers from Britain during the first nine months of 2018 were up 1 per cent versus the same period a year earlier, although spending declined by 1 per cent.

Mr Gibbons said the agency had seen no decline in consumer sentiment towards Ireland, even with increased negative rhetoric from some Brexiteers around the proposed backstop. He said currency fluctuations remained the biggest factor in terms of attracting British visitors.