Pictured are Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Great Britain; Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; and Justin Reid, TripAdvisor.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin met with the Tourism Ireland team, as well as with senior Irish tourism representatives and key players in the British travel trade. They discussed the implications of Brexit on travel to Ireland and the actions being taken by Tourism Ireland to mitigate its impact, to ensure that Ireland defends its share of this most competitive travel market.
Great Britain is a vital market for tourism to the island of Ireland. It delivers 47% of all overseas visitors and around 30% of all overseas tourism revenue. Its contribution to the regional tourism economy and to season extension objectives are also significant, with 41% of British visitors arriving between October and March. Although the latest figures from the CSO, for January-April 2018, confirm that arrivals from Britain are up very slightly (+1.1%), this doesn’t represent a turnaround in the long-term trend and the impact of Brexit on travel from Britain remains a concern. The good news is that access from Britain to the island of Ireland remains strong – with 236,500 airline seats and 45,000 car spaces on ferries available each week during the peak summer season. And, ferry capacity from Britain is set to increase this winter (by 1,200 car spaces), when Irish Ferries launches its new W.B. Yeats cruise ferry between Holyhead and Dublin.
During the meeting, Minister Griffin was also briefed on Tourism Ireland’s promotional programme for 2018 – and, in particular, the results of phase one of its “Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way” campaign. The campaign was rolled out this spring in British cities with direct flights to the West of Ireland, reaching at least 10 million potential holidaymakers.
Pre- and post-campaign research confirms that those who saw or heard the “Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way” adverts are twice as likely to come for a short break in the near future. Some results of the campaign include:
- a significant increase in visits to the Wild Atlantic Way section of the Tourism Ireland website, Ireland.com (visits up around +140% over the same period in spring 2017);
- bookings on Ryanair flights to airports along the Wild Atlantic Way are up year-on-year;
- around 2.6 million people have viewed a Wild Atlantic Way video, as part of an initiative with TripAdvisor; and
- significant exposure in popular British newspapers – with articles on the Wild Atlantic Way appearing in titles like The Sunday Times, The Sun, Metro, Lonely Planet and The Herald in Scotland.
Minister Brendan Griffin said: “Today I was glad to be able to meet with tourism industry figures from both Ireland and Britain to discuss our response to Brexit from a tourism perspective. I am fully aware of the importance of the British market for tourism here in Ireland, particularly in many rural and border areas, and today’s meeting was the latest in a series I have had with the industry and Tourism Ireland on the subject. There is, of course, still huge uncertainty around the final outcomes from Brexit but I am satisfied that the measures put in place by both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, such as the “Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way” campaign, have helped to stabilise the situation in the short-term. There is, however, no room for complacency and we need to continue to respond in a targeted fashion as the situation evolves. It is vital also that the industry is conscious of the importance of ensuring that Ireland remains an attractive place to visit for British tourists.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to brief Minister Griffin on our 2018 programme of activity in Britain and, in particular, the results of our “Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way” campaign. We also updated him on our expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, which is communicating a strong price-led message to prospective British visitors. The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks in Ireland more expensive; therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Over the coming months, we will continue to roll out an extensive programme of activity, to boost business and defend our share of this competitive market.”