Tourism Ireland has launched an ambitious plan to increase visitor numbers to the island of Ireland by three per cent, or 230,000 people, next year.
This is despite predictions from the world tourism forecaster Tourism Economics that the number of tourists visiting Ireland will fall by two per cent during the same period.
Tourism Ireland estimates that by the end of this year, visitor numbers will have fallen by 12 per cent, to 7.6 million people when compared with 2008. This activity generated some €3.7 billion in revenue.
Launching its 2010 marketing strategy in Dublin today, Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the World Tourism Organisation and Tourism Economics were suggesting continued uncertainty for 2010.
“However, Tourism Ireland believes that working together with the industry, we can deliver growth,” he said. “The Irish tourism industry is among the most innovative and enterprising in the world and we have a superb product to offer but getting back to growth in the prevailing circumstances will require a collective effort on an unprecedented scale.”
He said marketing investment would focus on generating immediate returns for the tourism industry. Britain and Germany would be singled out for extra investment, based on research which identified these markets as the best prospects next year. Tourism Ireland will run a national television advertising campaign in Germany for the first time next year. It will build on a recent promotion which brought 900 German travel professionals to Ireland.
It plans to spend at least €12.8 million on marketing in Britain next year and aims to build St Patrick’s Day “into one of the biggest consumer events in Britain in 2010”. Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen said he accepted that Britain was a challenging market due to the recession but it was a key market that could not be walked away from.