Tourism Ireland has launched its marketing plans for 2017 at an event in New York, attended by leading tour operators, travel agents and journalists from the tri-State area.
The organisation is aiming to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2016 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by 9 per cent in 2017, which is €1.6 billion generated by 1.7 million visitors.
North America will be prioritised for 2017, a market which offers a strong return on investment in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. The ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences will also be targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests.
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Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, which will highlight experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland’s Ancient East, Belfast and Dublin. Screen tourism will also remain a priority, as Tourism Ireland continues to capitalise on the country's connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Promotions will grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons.
This year has a number of factors working in Ireland's favour, including more airline seats than ever before between North America and Ireland (56,000 seats weekly from 18 gateways), as well as a number of new flights and expanded services in the pipeline for the year.
Speaking at the launch in New York, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: "In 2016, we welcomed a record 1.6 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland. Looking to the year ahead, we are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, a strong dollar, as well as the strength and competitiveness of the vacation experience right around the island of Ireland – will deliver further growth. We look forward to welcoming more of our great friends from the United States this year and in the years to come."
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, added: "We have a very clear focus for the year ahead and that is to deliver a +6 per cent increase in visitor numbers and +9 per cent increase in revenue from North America. We will achieve this by working in close collaboration with our Irish and American tourism partners, rolling out an extensive programme of high-impact campaigns and promotions which will target those consumers with greatest potential to travel to Ireland."