• Cyril McAree

Restarting International Tourism To Ireland In 2021

Tourism Ireland shared its plans for restarting overseas tourism to Ireland in 2021 – at a recent virtual event, called ‘Ready for Recovery’, which was attended by hundreds of tourism companies from around the island of Ireland and overseas.

After a devastating 2020 – with COVID-19 causing havoc for the travel and tourism industry across the globe – 2021 will see the restart of international travel. Tourism Ireland is actively planning for that restart. The organisation has a three-phase plan to RESTART, REBUILD and ultimately REDESIGN demand. The priority for 2021 will be to RESTART tourism to the island of Ireland.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, at Tourism Ireland’s ‘Ready for Recovery’ virtual event.

Right now, Tourism Ireland is planning a significant kick-start campaign, which will be launched when the time is right, possibly around St Patrick’s Day 2021 – to drive bookings and revenue for tourism businesses. It will deliver a very clear ‘book now’ message to create demand for summer holidays here, in order to save businesses and create jobs.

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2020 was a catastrophic year for everyone in our industry, but I do believe that tourism can, and will, recover from this pandemic. Recent news about vaccines is really positive and gives us hope for travel in 2021. In our research, Ireland has consistently been shown as one of the destinations that holidaymakers would be most comfortable visiting, even while social distancing measures are in place. So, while we in Tourism Ireland certainly don’t underestimate the challenges that may lie ahead, we embark on 2021 with hope and optimism.”

While remaining very flexible and ready to adapt quickly to changing conditions, Tourism Ireland has developed a clear plan. This will include the launch of a significant new kick-start campaign, as soon as the time is right. While Tourism Ireland will remain active in all markets, closer-to-home markets and North America are likely to provide the greatest opportunities.

Highlights of activity in the pipeline for 2021 include:

‘The Green Button’ campaign: a major new campaign will be launched, possibly around St Patrick’s Day, with a very clear ‘book now’ message. The campaign – called ‘The Green Button’ – will single-mindedly drive visitor numbers and intention to book a trip to Ireland in 2021. Filming for the campaign will take place early in 2021. It will include a focus on outdoor experiences and will feature some of our iconic attractions. The concept revolves around creating a commitment to travel here by ‘pressing the green button’ – green being the universal colour of ‘go’ and instinctively connected with Ireland and St Patrick’s Day.

Redeveloped Ireland.com and enhanced digital marketing capability: digital marketing has been increasingly important for Tourism Ireland in recent years. However, 2021 will see a step-change in its capabilities in this area. A significant redesign of Tourism Ireland’s international website, Ireland.com, has been under way throughout 2020. The new site is currently going live; in all, there will be 33 market sites, in 30 different countries, in 11 languages. It will be fundamental to Tourism Ireland’s proposed kick-start success.

Virtual trade promotions: Tourism Ireland, together with 320 tourism industry partners, will participate in around 25 virtual trade promotions in Q1 of 2021 – meeting, and doing business with, important travel trade contacts in 10 different markets. These will include ITB Berlin NOW, the PGA Merchandise Show, the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show, as well as virtual sales missions to the GCC, Austria and Switzerland.

Global Greening 2021: hundreds of iconic landmarks and buildings around the world will take part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2021 initiative around St Patrick’s Day. From Brussels to Buenos Aires and from Sydney to San Francisco, a host of buildings and sites around the world will light up in green to mark our national day. This will be the 12th year of Global Greening.

Niall Gibbons said: “Once this crisis is past and Ireland is open again to overseas visitors, we in Tourism Ireland will be ready to play our part in delivering a sustainable recovery, for the long-term future of our industry. We know that, while unquestionably the short-term priority for our industry is to restore economic sustainability, our success in attracting future overseas visitors will be increasingly dependent on the demonstration of environmental and community sustainability as well. We will be doing everything that we can to recover as much business as possible and to return our great industry to growth.”

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