Tourism officials launch €4.6m blitz to attract British visitors

Marketing campaign to encourge holidaymakers to press ‘green button’ and book visit

From left: Vice-chairman of Tourism Ireland Christopher Brooke;  Minister  for Tourism Catherine Martin; and chief executive of Tourism Ireland  Niall Gibbons, in London on Thursday to promote the campaign.

From left: Vice-chairman of Tourism Ireland Christopher Brooke; Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin; and chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons, in London on Thursday to promote the campaign.

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Tourism Ireland is spending €4.6 million on a nine-week advertising blitz of the British market from October to early December to tempt visitors for short breaks.

The State tourism marketing agency, which has an all-island remit, will launch a campaign encouraging British tourists to press the “green button” and book a visit to Ireland.

It will include a television advertising campaign to reach about 17 people; an outdoor campaign that it says will reach 7.4 million; digital advertising for 21 million people; and a social media campaign it hopes will reach 25 million.

The marketing campaign runs from October 1st to December 5th. Details were revealed on Thursday during a visit to Britain by Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin, who was one her first official overseas trip since taking up her role last summer. due to the pandemic.

State tourism officials are looking to the British market to provide an immediate fillip to the sector here, as the domestic tourism market recedes with the reopening of schools. The Dublin tourism sector, in particular, is in need of a boost as it was less popular with domestic holidaymakers in summer.

Overall in Ireland, North and South, about 4.8 million British visitors visited in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. British visitors represented 42 per cent of the total number of visitors and were the largest single source market for Irish tourism. They spent a total of €1.5 billion.

Ms Martin noted the success of the domestic tourism season but said: “I am aware that challenges remain for the sector. The greatest of these challenges remains the low level of international tourists compared to pre-pandemic levels.”

Overall, international visitors accounted for more than 75 per cent of the tourism market before the pandemic.

The Minister made the trip to Britain along with several senior Tourism Ireland officials. Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said it would work with British providers to “rebuild tourism”.

“Key priorities to ensure success will include rebuilding consumer confidence, as well as air and sea connectivity, which is vital as an island destination,” he said. More than 90 per cent of arrivals to Ireland are by air.

Influencers

In addition to the advertising blitz, Tourism Ireland is working with a number of celebrities and “influencers” to promote the island to British visitors. Chef Clodagh McKenna will this week film a number of segments about Cork and Kerry for ITV’s This Morning television show, to be screened over September and October.

Former model Vogue Williams and television presenter Laura Whitmore have also been retained by Tourism Ireland to front a social media campaign. Tourism Ireland will also promote the island at this weekend’s PGA golf championship at Wentworth.

In a speech at dinner at the Irish embassy in London on Thursday evening, Ms Martin said she wanted to “re-imagine and reconfigure” Irish tourism. She said her department is currently devising a new strategy for the sector until “2030 and beyond”, with “sustainable tourism” at its centre.

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