Tourism Ireland launched details of its marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas in 2017, at an event attended by tourism industry leaders from Dublin and elsewhere around the country.
2016 is set to be the best year ever for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records; by year end, 10.5 million people will have visited the island of Ireland.
For 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to build on this year’s performance, in terms of visitor numbers; and to grow overseas tourism revenue by +4.5% in 2017 i.e. €5.7 billion to the economies north and south next year.
Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s strategy for 2017.
Factors working in our favour include new flights to Ireland from the US, Germany and Scandinavia, as well as expanded services via the Middle East from long-haul countries; strong economies in key source markets like the United States and Mainland Europe; and the Ireland ‘brand’ (or image abroad) remains strong.
Other positives include Tourism Ireland’s strength in digital and social media (the organisation is the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook).
A new ad highlighting the island of Ireland was also unveiled at the Tourism Ireland launch today. The ad will air from January 2017 in 23 markets around the world – including on national television across the United States and in cinemas in Britain.
Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 10.5 million people will have visited the island of Ireland, representing an +11% increase over 2015, with growth recorded from all markets.
Revenue generated by international visitors is expected to be €5.4 billion, a +10% increase over last year – helping to sustain some 263,000 valuable jobs in communities across the island.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said:
“2016 will be the best year ever for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records and coming on the back of a number of years of strong growth.
“And, I am delighted to report that we have seen growth from all our markets around the world with record numbers arriving here from North America, Mainland Europe, and Australia and developing markets.
“Throughout the year, 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 €385 million in equivalent advertising value.”
In 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +4.5%, to €5.7 million for the economies north and south. In terms of visitor numbers, the aim is to sustain this year’s results and to welcome 10.6 million overseas visitors.
2017 may present some challenges – not least Brexit, which is likely to impact on consumer confidence, which in turn may have consequences for travel to all destinations, including Ireland, from Britain.
As our nearest neighbour and our largest market for overseas tourism, Britain will remain a priority for us.
The depreciation of sterling against the euro since the UK referendum on Brexit means that value for money will be a key message for Irish people in Britain next year.
Access developments for 2017 include a new Aer Lingus flight to Dublin from Miami, as well as expanded services on Aer Lingus flights from Los Angeles, Chicago and Orlando.
Other new routes in the pipeline include a Delta flight from Boston to Dublin, Transavia from Munich to Dublin, a Norwegian service between Stockholm and Dublin, an SAS flight from Stockholm to Shannon, a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Shannon, WOW Air from Keflavik (Iceland) to Cork and a Swiss Air flight from Zurich to Cork.
Also, Etihad will once again operate double-daily departures between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, from April.