Ireland raises its stake 30% on tourism marketing

Despite the
recession hitting Irish tourism hard, Tourism Ireland
is to increase its investment in
marketing by 30 per cent, with social and digital media at the centre of the new
strategy.

Tourism
Ireland launched its 2011
Marketing Plans for the British market at the Irish Embassy in London, 23 February, and CEO Niall
Gibbons reminded the audience, including key UK event organisers, that tourism was
worth €3bn to the Irish economy and delivered four per cent of
GNP.

Gibbons
said that the new marketing campaign would concentrate on differentiating the
Ireland
offer for tourism. He admitted that the perception of value had deteriorated
with the strengthening of the euro by 40 per cent against sterling.

However, a
10 per cent swing back had helped make Ireland’s hotel room stock
“some the best value in Western
Europe,” Gibbons said, adding  that in addition to Tourism Ireland increasing
its marketing budget by 30 per cent, there has been a cut in travel tax from 10
to three per cent.

New Head of
Great Britain at Tourism Ireland,
Vanessa Markey, outlined three more planks to the “return to growth strategy”:
creating a buzz; exciting the British travel trade and increased value. She said
there would be a less fragmented
approach to marketing, with the lion’s share of funding going to the target
markets. Britain, she noted, now
accounted for half of all Ireland’s
tourism business.

“Digital
campaigns and social media will play
an important part in promoting Ireland
as a business tourism destination,” Markey said. A recent Twitter campaign had
attracted 33,000 tweets, she noted, and said a 60-second viral YouTube clip was
to be released on St Patrick’s Day (17 March).

An iBot
called Dara is also promised as part of the campaign to push Ireland’s
literary heritage and Markey said a campaign of TV ads would run on ITV for the
first time in five years. One million
euros would be put into advertising in video on demand channel
slots.

The new
marketing activity follows last year’s introduction of a conference CO2
calculator iPhone app, enabling organisers to check the carbon emissions
associated with their delegate travel; as well as the popular ‘GB
Meet in Ireland blog.

Counsellor
for Economic Affairs at the Embassy, Eugene Forde, said the new campaign
came against a background of “very
solid relations” developing between the UK and Ireland
and he hoped this would be capped off in 2011 with a Royal
visit.

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have a news story for Conference
News
? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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