Tourism Ireland has unveiled details of its new three-year strategy for 2020-2022 and its marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland to international visitors, first at an event in Dublin and at a second event in Belfast. The two events were attended by 800 tourism industry leaders from around Ireland.
The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to the island of Ireland by €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%), by 2022. The goal for Northern Ireland is to grow overseas tourism revenue to £658 million (+15%) and visitor numbers to 2.57 million (+13%), by 2022.
Tourism Ireland chairman Joan O’Shaughnessy and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons at the Belfast launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy for 2020-2022 and its marketing plans for 2020
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.
Tourism Ireland’s Sustainable Destination Marketing Principles include:
- Aligning promotional activity with capacity i.e. increasing the focus on locations and attractions that have capacity at peak visitor times. This is embodied in Tourism Ireland’s ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ campaign.
- Highlighting those less well-known attractions and events that appeal to international visitors and have the capacity to cater for increased numbers.
- Driving more business to our regions: activity will include prioritising regional messages in global campaigns, working with airports and carriers to stimulate regional air access routes and a new ‘twinning’ initiative (where each overseas market will ‘twin with’ or place a greater focus on a specific region in Ireland).
- Increasing focus on season extension: this will involve leveraging festivals and events such as Taste the Island, Púca, St Patrick’s Festival, Galway 2020, TradFest and Wexford Festival Opera, among others, to drive more non-peak travel. Urban centres will be promoted as great off-season, city break destinations.
- Prioritising co-operative marketing activity that is sure to drive regional and Northern Ireland growth or season extension.
- Heightened collaboration with stakeholders and sister agencies, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, on sustainability.
Tourism Ireland’s focus in 2020:
Tourism Ireland has identified a number of other strategic areas to underpin its promotional activity in 2020. These include:
- Market diversification and who we’re targeting: Tourism Ireland will continue to promote the island of Ireland in both established and key emerging markets, to mitigate risk and ensure long-term market diversification.
- As the organisation’s marketing techniques evolve, so do the opportunities for more nuanced customer segmentation. In 2020, Tourism Ireland will review its core segments – ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energisers’. It will also assess the future potential of special niche segments and special interest groups – including soft adventure, Diaspora and LGBT+. It will continue to grow Ireland’s share of luxury travel from key markets.
- Global campaign: Tourism Ireland’s global campaign – ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ – will continue to refresh and reinvigorate the presentation of the island of Ireland overseas. It aims to connect more emotionally with prospective visitors, by inviting them to ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’, with the promise that spending time here will help restore their lust for life. The campaign will feature a range of less visited attractions and locations and will highlight the passions that research shows motivate our target audience, such as landscapes and heritage; and will dial up activities like walking, cycling and kayaking.
- Transformative digital marketing: In 2020, Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its strength in digital and social media. The organisation will re-develop its international website, Ireland.com, to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s. It will use big data and artificial intelligence to target the customer with the next best marketing communication, to persuade them to holiday on the island of Ireland. The 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.
- Increased sales platforms for industry and trade: Tourism Ireland will increase the number of face-to-face sales platforms on offer for Irish industry and overseas trade partners. There will also be an increased number of digital sales leads available to industry and trade.
- Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening: 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative – when 500+ iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated in green to celebrate our national day.
In March 2020, Tourism Ireland will develop a new ‘Green Tuesday’ St Patrick’s Day promotion – a time-limited ‘mega’ event linked to its Global Greening campaign, encouraging carriers, industry and trade to provide off-peak special offers.