Tourism Ireland plans to attract two million Americans per year to Ireland by 2021, according to a new Tourism Ireland strategy launched by Minister of State for Tourism and
Sport, Brendan Griffin TD (pictured with Tourism Ireland ceo Niall Gibbons and head of North America Alison Metcalfe)..
The strategy aims to build on recent success and to anticipate the various opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. It sets out ambitious targets which will see the island of Ireland welcome 2 million American visitors per year by 2021, representing growth of +23%; and will see revenue generated by American holidaymakers increase by +33%, to €1.37 billion per year.
The United States is the second-largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland and in 2017 we welcomed a record 1.83 American visitors. In fact, we saw growth of +60% in American holidaymakers to Ireland and +70% in revenue from American holidaymakers in the period 2012-2016; this strong growth was driven by more direct flights than ever, positive macro-economic conditions, as well as strong and effective sales and marketing.
New research was undertaken as part of this review, in order to deepen our understanding of our target audience in the US and how they choose their vacation. Key findings included:
Ireland is well considered by Americans. However, the Ireland ‘brand’ needs to be more distinctive in order to motivate prospective American visitors to choose us over competitive destinations.
Communications need to prompt people to reassess their assumptions about Ireland, surprise them and get them to ‘book now’, rather than ‘visit some day’. Communications also need to be more vivid and arresting.
Ireland needs to be more visible where Americans are looking (when planning their vacation) and booking (for actual travel) – across all travel platforms and channels, including social media.
The internet is used extensively by Americans to plan and prepare for their vacation. However, offline sources, including special offers/prices, travel TV shows and travel books, as well as tourist boards, remain important – particularly for our ‘Culturally Curious’ audience.
Personalised, authentic experiences are very important to these Americans travellers.
Value for money is also important.