Tourism Ireland outlines strategy to rebuild overseas tourism – with €78 million marketing budget for 2023
Actress Sharon Horgan fronts Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign
Tourism Ireland today launched details of its marketing strategy and plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas in 2023, at an event attended by Tourism Minister Catherine Martin and around 500 tourism industry leaders from around the country.
Tourism Ireland aims to rebuild revenue from overseas holidaymakers to pre-pandemic levels – by attracting ‘value-adding tourists’ (visitors who stay longer, spend more in the regions and in Northern Ireland, arrive during the shoulder season and consider their impact on the environment) and by focusing on markets that deliver the greatest revenue. This will be achieved through a wide range of promotional activities, including major marketing campaigns, publicity and programming, social media and digital marketing, as well as working with the tourism industry at home and the travel trade overseas to facilitate sales.
This year, Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of activity with a marketing budget of €78 million.
Sustainability will be at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s work over the coming years. As well as focusing on the economic sustainability of the tourism industry (the contribution overseas tourism makes to economic prosperity and, in particular, to jobs and livelihoods), Tourism Ireland’s strategy also has social sustainability (the benefit that communities across the island experience from overseas tourism) and environmental sustainability at its core.
Speaking at the launch, Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said: “I want to commend Tourism Ireland for the comprehensive marketing strategy they have put in place for 2023. In particular, I welcome the focus on embedding sustainability across all its activities, the increased consideration of the environmental impacts of tourism and the focus on increasing representation of holidaymaker diversity. International travel to Ireland rebounded strongly in 2022, but the sector continues to face significant challenges, therefore it is vital that we continue to invest in overseas marketing and the additional funding of €15 million that I secured in Budget 2023 will enable Tourism Ireland to significantly ramp up its promotion of Ireland as world-class tourism experience in key markets. I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Niall Gibbons’ contribution to Tourism Ireland. Niall, who will step down as CEO in April, played a key role in the development of the organisation through its formative years and has overseen its emergence as a world leader in tourism marketing. The record levels of growth in tourist numbers, and associated revenues over the past decade, is testament to his hard work and leadership. I wish to thank him for over 20 years of outstanding service to Irish tourism and I wish him every success in the future.”
New global campaign
Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – ‘Fill your heart with Ireland’ – was unveiled at today’s launch. The new ads feature actresses Sharon Horgan, from Bad Sisters, and Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, from Derry Girls. The campaign is all about dialling up what differentiates the island of Ireland from other destinations – communicated through various celebrities, who share what fills their hearts with Ireland.
The new campaign will go live from St Patrick’s Day in our top four tourism markets – Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France – and will then be rolled out in nine other important tourism markets around the world.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “As we emerge from Covid, our priority for the year ahead is to drive the return of revenue from overseas holidaymakers to pre-pandemic levels and to ensure that overseas tourism contributes to economic sustainability. In 2023, we will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of promotional activity around the globe. We are excited to unveil our new ‘Fill your heart with Ireland’ global campaign, which will highlight our rich and authentic experiences, breath-taking landscapes and, in particular, our warm welcome.
“We are very aware that there is much uncertainty in the short-term – with ever-changing and significant risks right now, including the war in Ukraine and its implications on the cost of doing business. However, there is optimism for the long-term health of overseas tourism. Our job is to ensure that interest in Ireland, and the recovery in demand for holidays here, continues and that our industry returns to profitability.
“Above all, the need for Tourism Ireland to adopt a flexible and agile approach, taken over recent years, will continue in 2023 and beyond.”
In 2022, Tourism Ireland’s focus was to RESTART overseas tourism to the island of Ireland. As the year unfolded, international travel rebounded more quickly than anticipated, with 2022 finishing at around 75% of 2019 business. Factors like pent-up demand for travel, deferred bookings and accumulated savings led to a surge in travel to Ireland. Air and sea capacity also returned at a faster rate than expected. The priority for this year will be to REBUILD tourism to the island of Ireland.
Niall Gibbons continued: “In 2022, our priority was to restart overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, so it was encouraging to see the year finishing at around 75% of 2019 business. Throughout 2022, we undertook our most extensive programme of promotions ever to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Ireland in 2022. Tourism Ireland estimates that the media exposure last year was worth an estimated €610 million in equivalent advertising value.
“Our latest wave of research confirms that the desire to travel is stronger than ever. As we move to the REBUILD phase of our strategy for overseas tourism, our aim is to drive business to the regions, ensuring the benefits of tourism are distributed right around the island of Ireland, on a year-round basis.”