Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s strategy for 2018. Their marketing plans for 2018 aim to build on this year’s growth to deliver €6 billion (+5%) in overseas tourism revenue to the island of Ireland, by welcoming 10.8 million visitors next year.
They noted factors, such as new flights to Ireland favouring this growth – including the first ever direct flight from the Asia-Pacific region, with a new Cathay Pacific service from Hong Kong set to launch in June, as well as new Aer Lingus flights from Dublin to Seattle and Philadelphia.
Other positives highlighted by Tourism Ireland include the strong economies in many key source markets; as well as their strength in digital and social media to reach new audiences. The release of Star Wars: Episode VIII – which will feature various locations along the western seaboard – will also give them a truly unique opportunity to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland in 2018.
They acknowledged that 2018 will undoubtedly present some challenges – not least Brexit, which is likely to continue to impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from Britain making investment in year-round marketing programmes more important than ever. In Britain, with the depreciation of sterling against the euro means that value for money will continue to be a key message for them into next year.
Tourism Ireland also detail in their plans how they will continue to work with Fáilte Ireland, tour operators, air and sea carriers, regional airports and sea ports, to foster the greater dispersal of visitors around the regions of Ireland and right throughout the year, highlighting Ireland for shoulder and off-peaks breaks.
The key strategic areas that will underpin their marketing activity include:
- Focusing resources: Tourism Ireland will focus its investment on the basis of market potential and will continue to implement its market diversification strategy. They will continue to maximise holiday revenue through investment in Mainland Europe and North America. They will implement actions arising from comprehensive reviews of the US and German markets. They also plan to optimise investment in Australia and will exploit new access opportunities from Asia and the Middle East to grow business from emerging markets of high potential.
- New global ad campaign: They plan to develop an inspiring new global advertising campaign, to refresh and reinvigorate the presentation of the island of Ireland overseas, for roll-out in 2019 and beyond.
- Digital and social media: In 2018, Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its strength in digital and social media. They plan to make a step-change in their digital marketing capability by undertaking a significant ‘refresh’ of the international website, Ireland.com, to increase the site’s appeal to prospective visitors and to drive over 4 million referrals to our partners’ websites; and by implementing a new data-management platform to enable more targeted and personalised digital communications.
- Tourism Ireland is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook (4.1 million fans), number four on Twitter (451,000 followers) and number three on YouTube (over 35 million views). Tourism Ireland’s international website, www.Ireland.com, attracted a record 19.37 million visitors in 2017.
- Target audiences: They plan to intensify their focus on key ‘culturally curious’ audience (discerning travellers, aged 45+, who want to expand their horizons by exploring landscapes and getting under the skin of local heritage and culture), who have the strongest propensity to visit the island of Ireland. They plan to target a ‘social energiser’ audience (younger travellers, seeking to enjoy a fun time with friends in places that are new, unique and vibrant) in markets where significant potential exists, including North American, Britain, France and Spain. And, Tourism Ireland will also target some niche segments – including golfers, business and incentive visitors, as well as the diaspora in Britain, North America and Australia.
- Key promotional themes: Tourism Ireland will promote iconic holiday experiences – Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin and the Wild Atlantic Way. Other key promotional themes will include the Causeway Coastal Route, Titanic and Belfast.
- Collaboration: Tourism Ireland will collaborate with key partners, including air and sea carriers and the international travel trade, to deliver sustained connectivity and sales growth. They will provide thousands of promotional engagements for Irish tourism enterprises and overseas travel trade partners – to help them do business overseas and facilitate them to ‘close the sale’, particularly in the digital space.
- International publicity: Tourism Ireland will also ramp up its publicity programme around the world – placing increased focus on digital channels and working more closely with online media, including bloggers. This year, Tourism Ireland’s publicity activities generated thousands of articles and broadcasts, worth an estimated €327 million.
- Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2018: 2018 will mark the ninth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative – when hundreds of iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated in green to celebrate our national day.
Pictured above Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, at the Dublin launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2018.
13th December 2017