Festival organisers from 40 national festivals across the country attended the first of a two day Fáilte Ireland masterclass at the Spencer Hotel, Dublin, created to build world-
class festivals and develop skills in growing international visitors.
Festivals motivate over 200,000 overseas visitors to come to Ireland and contribute €108m to the economy every year. New research into Fáilte Ireland funded festivals shows that 58% of festival attendees from across four of our key markets; the UK, US, Germany and France, are repeat visitors and almost 60% of overseas visitors attend festivals outside of Dublin. Festivals are crucial to the tourism sector, and were highlighted in Fáilte Ireland’s recently launched 2019 plans as a key component to continue to grow tourism, extend the season and spread tourism benefits across the country.
This new research has also identified five key factors that deliver a successful festival for tourism. Successful festivals have:
A focus on or celebrate a specific interest or tradition
A clearly identifiable overseas festival “fan base” such as the Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival
Links to international networks such as TradFest’s international industry connections with Celtic Connections and Milwaukee Irish Fest
Immersive and participatory experiences
Local atmosphere and an opportunity to meet like-minded people
Alongside Fáilte Ireland’s dedicated festivals team, a wide range of Irish and international industry experts spoke to attendees at the masterclass about topics such as best practice in festival development, future trends, international marketing, sourcing sponsorship and social media for festivals. The masterclass also included a networking session led by Kingsley Aikins (see notes to editors for full list of speakers).
Speaking at the masterclass, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, said:
“Festivals play an important role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences, giving overseas visitors to Ireland a unique opportunity to experience the very best of our culture, people and places. We are aiming to grow international visitors coming to Ireland to attend a festival to 300,000 by 2022, so our focus is on developing high impact festivals of scale and international standing, particularly at off-peak times of the year and in key geographical areas outside of current ‘hotspots’ around the country.
We are delighted to have so many high calibre speakers at our two day masterclass from across the country and abroad, sharing their experience and insights. This masterclass is the first event in a new Business Supports Programme we are developing to give festival organisers the tools they need to build world-class festivals and attract even more overseas visitors.”
The Fáilte Ireland festivals team work directly with festival organisers to develop and promote Irish festivals.