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Tourism Ireland launches 2018 marketing plans

2.31 million overseas visitors and £623 million overseas tourism revenue are targets for 2018

Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2018 in Belfast.

Tourism Ireland has launched details of its marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2018, at an event attended by tourism industry leaders from around Northern Ireland yesterday.

2017 is set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland; by year end, some 2.26 million people will have visited Northern Ireland (+6% on 2016), spending £586 million (+8%). In 2018, Tourism Ireland aims to build on this year’s performance – growing overseas tourism revenue to £623 million (+6%), driven by more than 2.3 million overseas visitors.

Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s strategy for the coming year. In 2018, Tourism Ireland will continue to promote major Northern Ireland themes and attractions around the world – including the Causeway Coastal Route, Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our National Trust properties. The organisation will highlight our world-class golf, in particular leveraging the prestigious 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019. Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to capitalise on our connection with Game of Thrones and build on the success of Tourism Ireland’s award-winning ‘Doors of Thrones’ and GoT Tapestry campaigns. Tourism Ireland will also capitalise on the 300th anniversary of the 1718 Ulster Scots migration to the United States.

2017 performance

Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, almost 2.26 million people will have visited Northern Ireland, representing a +6% increase over 2016. Revenue generated by international visitors is expected to be £586 million, an +8% increase over last year.

“2017 is set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Northern 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 Northern Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated £100 million in equivalent advertising value.”

2018

In 2018, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6%, to £623 million for the Northern Ireland economy, driven by over 2.3 million overseas visitors.

“We are heading into 2018 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2017. Our aim is to position Northern Ireland as a year-round, ‘must visit’ destination and to ensure that the contribution of overseas tourism to the local economy continues to expand,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

“We will implement the actions arising from our comprehensive reviews of the US and German markets. We will position Northern Ireland as a great staycation option in the GB market, highlighting the value for money. And, of course, screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to highlight Northern Ireland through the exciting events of Game of Thrones on the global stage. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”

Tourism Ireland will showcase Northern Ireland as a compelling ‘staycation’ option in GB, with easy access and lots to see, do and experience. The organisation will emphasise that a £ is a £ in Northern Ireland by focusing on a value message and integrating strong price-led offers.

In 2018, Tourism Ireland will continue to work with Tourism NI, tour operators, air and sea carriers, regional airports and sea ports, to promote Northern Ireland right throughout the year. The organisation will provide thousands of promotional engagements for Northern Ireland tourism enterprises and trade partners overseas – to help them do business overseas and facilitate them to ‘close the sale’, particularly in the digital space.

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