Tourism Ireland revealed plans for restarting overseas tourism at a virtual event called "Ready for Recovery" on Wednesday December 16.
The organisation is planning a significant kick-start campaign to drive bookings and revenue for tourism businesses, which it said it will launch when the time is right.
"The Green Button"
Tourism Ireland plans for restarting overseas tourism include the launch a major new campaign called "The Green Button", possibly around St Patrick's Day 2021, filming for which will take place early next year.
"The Green Button" campaign will focus on promoting outdoor experiences and will feature some of the island of Ireland's most iconic attractions including Trinity College, the Cliffs of Moher, Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and Lough Tay.
The campaign will be called "The Green Button" because green is the universal colour of "go" and is also associated with both Ireland and St Patrick's Day.
Redeveloped Ireland.com And Enhanced Digital Marketing Capability
Digital marketing has been increasingly important for Tourism Ireland in recent years, and 2021 will see a step-change in the organisation's capabilities in this area.
A significant redesign of Tourism Ireland's international website, Ireland.com, has been taking place throughout 2020, and the new site is currently going live. Tourism Ireland said that, in all, there will be 33 market sites in 30 different countries and 11 languages, and the redesigned Ireland.com will be fundamental to the organisation's planned kick-start success in 2021.
Tourism Ireland also plans to double its e-mail database of consumers around the world.
Major Broadcasts In 2021
Major broadcasts in the pipeline for next year include an Ireland food travelogue fronted by celebrity chef Donal Skehan on PBS in the United States as well as Hidden Ireland, hosted by American travel journalist Peter Greenberg, also on PBS, and Adrian Dunbar's Scenic Ireland on Channel 5.
Virtual trade Promotions
Tourism Ireland, together with 320 tourism industry partners, will participate in approximately 25 virtual trade promotion events in the first quarter of 2021, which will involve meeting and doing business with travel trade contacts in 10 different markets.
The virtual trade promotion events will include ITB Berlin NOW, the PGA Merchandise Show and the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show as well as virtual sales missions to the GCC, Austria and Switzerland.
Global Greening 2021
Hundreds of iconic landmarks and buildings around the world will take part in Tourism Ireland's twelfth annual Global Greening initiative around St Patrick's Day 2021.
From Sydney to San Francisco to Bueno Aieres to Brussels, a host of buildings and sites around the world will light up in green to mark Ireland's national day.
Tourism Ireland's global social media campaign, #FillYourHeartWithIreland, which has been running since April of this year, will continue into 2021. To date, the campaign has delivered 541 million impressions on Facebook channels and 37 million video views. This month, it includes a special #ChristmasInIreland promotion.
Tourism Ireland's End-Of-Year Promotional Activity
Additionally, a campaign is currently under way in the UK, the US and Canada in print and digital media such as IrishCentral.com, Celtic Life International magazine, and The Irish Post and The Irish World newspapers encouraging the Irish diaspora to travel home as soon as the time is right to do so, and will run until mid-January, and Tourism Ireland will roll out a major digital video campaign during the upcoming Christmas holiday period in the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, the Nordic countries and the UAE.
Three Key Pillars Of Action
Tourism Ireland said that while its success in supporting the restart of overseas tourism and driving business development is dependent on many factors, there are three key pillars of action, which are as follows:
- Consumer motivation: Tourism Ireland will continue to monitor the global impact of COVID-19. Its extensive programme of COVID-19 research will continue in 2021, with findings informing its promotional activity and plans. Other research projects will look at the potential of luxury travel and "ultra high net worth" travellers as well as the potential of the golf and outdoor activities markets.
- Air and sea access: Tourism Ireland will work with air and sea carriers to secure the return of vital routes in 2021 and beyond.
- Industry and travel trade: Tourism Ireland will continue to support its tourism industry partners across the island of Ireland as well as the travel trade overseas to ensure maximum sales opportunities are achieved.
Minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media Catherine Martin TD stated "I am really pleased to see that Tourism Ireland is launching its plans for 2021. This year has been hugely difficult for everyone involved in tourism in Ireland and particularly those invested in overseas markets. The fact that we have had to take public health measures which have effectively closed off inbound tourism has been very challenging.
"Tourism remains in survival mode at this time. However, I am satisfied that the steps I have taken to support jobs and businesses in the sector, along with the horizontal measures adopted by government, mean that key strategic tourism enterprises will be in a position to benefit from the recovery when it comes. We can now see some positive signs with regard to vaccines and I am confident that the resilience shown by the industry will begin to pay dividends in the months ahead. The plans set out by Tourism Ireland will be critical in putting Ireland in the forefront of consumers' minds in our key overseas markets. I look forward to seeing overseas tourists back in Ireland as soon as circumstances allow."
"Hope And Optimism"
Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons commented, "This has been a catastrophic year for everyone in our industry, but I do believe that tourism can, and will, recover from this pandemic. Recent news about vaccines is really positive and gives us hope for travel in 2021. In our research, Ireland has consistently been shown as one of the destinations that holiday-makers would be most comfortable visiting, even while social distancing measures are in place. So, while we in Tourism Ireland certainly don't underestimate the challenges that may lie ahead, we look to 2021 with hope and optimism.
"As international travel begins to restart next year, it is clear that keeping the island of Ireland front and centre in consumers' minds will be critical. Every destination across the globe has experienced the impact of COVID and will be seeking their share of the recovery. When the time is right, Tourism Ireland will need to punch through the noise and create an immediate desire to visit. Flexibility, above all, will be absolutely key.
"Once this crisis is past and Ireland is open again to overseas visitors, we in Tourism Ireland will be ready to play our part in delivering a sustainable recovery, for the long-term future of our industry. We know that, while unquestionably the short-term priority for our industry is to restore economic sustainability, our success in attracting future overseas visitors will be increasingly dependent on the demonstration of environmental and community sustainability as well. We will be doing everything that we can to recover as much business as possible and to return our great industry to growth."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.