January 22, 2020
Business News

Tourism strategy to attract more visitors to Kilkenny

Some well-known local companies took part in the launch of Tourism Ireland’s three-year strategy to attract more visitors to Kilkenny and the rest of the country in Dublin this week.

Representates from Hotel Kilkenny and Jerpoint Park joined the event with Junior Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin and around 500 industry leaders from across the country.

Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%), by 2022.

Phase two of Tourism Ireland’s global campaign – ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ – was revealed at the launch. As in phase one of the campaign, the new ad features less visited attractions and locations (including Trim Castle, Waterford Greenway, EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum and Rathlin Island). From January 2020, the ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ campaign will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe.

The period 2020-2022 will see Tourism Ireland transform its digital platforms and re-develop its entire suite of Ireland.com websites – which attracted more than 23 million visits this year – to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s.

It will also use big data and artificial intelligence to reach potential visitors; this new technology will also allow Tourism Ireland to re-target visitors and potential visitors with personalised messages and offers, designed to appeal to their specific interests.

The event heard 2019 has been “a very mixed experience” for Irish tourism, with weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets. There’s also been a deterioration in air access capacity this year. Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, revenue generated by international visitors will be around €5.78 billion (-1.4% on last year), with some 11.17 million people having visited the island of Ireland (0%).

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: “In 2019 we’ve seen a continuing weak trend in Irish tourism – which has been reflected in the feedback from our industry partners, who’ve been experiencing weaker demand.

“We’ve certainly seen the effects of the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit on travel to Ireland, with holidaymakers booking later and reducing their holiday budgets.”

While recognising the various risks and challenges, Tourism Ireland believes that growth in overseas tourism can be achieved. By 2022, the aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%).

Mr Gibbons added: “It is not enough to simply target growth at all costs and our new, three-year strategy is built on a set of sustainable destination marketing principles.

“Tourism Ireland will continue to raise awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East around the world. We will highlight inspirational events like Taste the Island, Galway 2020 and Púca. Our aim is to spread the success of overseas tourism throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland – ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Fiona Nugent, Tourism Ireland; and Joe O’Connell, Jerpoint Park, at the Dublin launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2020 marketing plans

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