Tourism Ireland in £7m blitz to target late-season visitors
TOURISM Ireland has launched a £7 million promotional campaign to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world.
It coincides with the September-to-December period, which historically yields as much as 30 per cent of the region's annual overseas tourism business.
The campaign will highlight the many festivals and events taking place around Northern Ireland this autumn and winter – from the Belfast International Arts Festival to Culture Night, the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry, Belfast Comedy Festival and Cinemagic Belfast.
And Tourism Ireland will also promote the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, due to open at the end of September, to its important ‘culturally curious’ audience.
The tourism body's chief executive Niall Gibbons said: “Latest official figures indicate that overseas visitors to Northern Ireland increased by 8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, over the same three-month period last year.
"Sentiment from our tourism partners overseas, including tour operators and carriers, as well as our industry partners such as hoteliers and visitors attractions, indicates that growth from overseas has continued into the high summer season.
"This autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends in our markets around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening here.”
The campaign – which is being rolled out in Britain, North America, mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets – will incorporate a major focus on city breaks, as well as on attracting visitors to more rural areas over the coming months.
Highlights of the activity include co-operative promotions with Ryanair, Flybe, Aer Lingus, Visit Belfast, P&O and Stena Line, highlighting competitive fares and autumn breaks in Belfast and Northern Ireland; extensive online advertising; as well as a busy programme of digital, PR and social media activity.
Tourism Ireland will again have a presence at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta in October, targeting the Scots-Irish and Ulster Scots market and helping to ensure Northern Ireland is high on the vacation ‘wish-list’ of Americans for 2017.
Its ‘Jump into Ireland’ travel trade and media blitz will also take in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, with sales missions planned to the Middle East, India, New Zealand and Australia.