• Cyril McAree

Tourism Ireland Launches 2020 Marketing Plans


Tourism Ireland today launched details of its new three-year strategy for 2020-2022 and its marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas next year, at an event attended by Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin and around 500 tourism industry leaders from around the country.

The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%), by 2022. The 2020-2022 strategy has been designed to be both flexible and sustainable – while delivering further growth in overseas tourism and supporting the industry across the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland aims to spread the benefits of tourism more broadly across the island of Ireland on a year-round basis and to address the issues of capacity, to ensure the visitor experience continues to be world-class. The new strategy is built on a set of sustainable destination marketing principles. Phase two of Tourism Ireland’s global campaign – ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ – was revealed at today’s launch. As in phase one of the campaign, the new ad features less visited attractions and locations (including Trim Castle, Waterford Greenway, EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum and Rathlin Island). From January 2020, the ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ campaign will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe. The period 2020-2022 will see Tourism Ireland transform its digital platforms and re-develop its entire suite of Ireland.com websites – which attracted more than 23 million visits this year – to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s. It will use big data and artificial intelligence to reach potential visitors; this new technology will also allow Tourism Ireland to re-target visitors and potential visitors with personalised messages and offers, designed to appeal to their specific interests.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, said: “I am delighted to be here today with Tourism Ireland, as they launch their strategy for 2020-2022 and marketing plans for next year. I have been hugely impressed by the hard work and dedication of the Tourism Ireland team at home and overseas during what has been a somewhat challenging year for tourism. While performance in the sector this year has been mixed, we are still in line to see a contribution of well over €5 billion to our economy from overseas tourists in 2019. “Despite the challenges we have faced this year, we head into 2020 in a relatively strong position. The additional funding made available to Tourism Ireland at the end of 2019 will support accelerated tourism marketing initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts of Brexit. In Budget 2020, Minister Ross and I secured an allocation of almost €186 million for tourism, up 10% on the 2019 allocation, which puts the sector in a strong position to grow next year. Earlier this year, on the recommendation of Minister Ross and I, the Government adopted revised performance targets for Irish tourism out to 2025. The primary target is to achieve €6.5 billion in revenue from overseas tourism by 2025. While this is a challenging target, we must seek to reach it in a way that is sustainable. I am glad to see that within Tourism Ireland’s plans for next year there is a strong focus on sustainability through spreading our tourism business more evenly around the entire island and encouraging more visitors in the off-season.” 2019 performance 2019 has been a very mixed experience for Irish tourism, with weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets. There’s also been a deterioration in air access capacity this year. Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, revenue generated by international visitors will be around €5.78 billion (-1.4% on last year), with some 11.17 million people having visited the island of Ireland (0%). “In 2019 we’ve seen a continuing weak trend in Irish tourism – which has been reflected in the feedback from our industry partners, who’ve been experiencing weaker demand,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “We’ve certainly seen the effects of the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit on travel to Ireland, with holidaymakers booking later and reducing their holiday budgets. “Throughout 2019, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, 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; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated €350 million in equivalent advertising value.” 2020-2022 2020 will undoubtedly continue to present some challenges – not least the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, which is likely to continue to impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on travel from Britain and some Mainland European markets. Other challenges may include economic and geo-political uncertainty, as well as constraints on the availability of aircraft (particularly relating to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX). While recognising the various risks and challenges, Tourism Ireland believes that growth in overseas tourism can be achieved. By 2022, the aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%).

“It is not enough to simply target growth at all costs and our new, three-year strategy is built on a set of sustainable destination marketing principles,” said Niall Gibbons. “These principles will underpin all of Tourism Ireland’s activities and are reflected in our renewed emphasis on driving business to the regions and ensuring the benefits of tourism growth are distributed right around the island of Ireland, on a year-round basis. By applying these principles and through working with our partners on wider sustainability issues, we are confident that overseas tourism will help communities to prosper, while our overseas visitors continue to enjoy a great holiday experience. “Tourism Ireland will continue to raise awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East around the world. We will highlight inspirational events like Taste the Island, Galway 2020 and Púca. Our aim is to spread the success of overseas tourism throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland – ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.”


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