1st February 2023
Tourism Ireland outlines strategy to rebuild overseas tourism – with £70 million marketing budget for 2023
~ Derry Girls stars Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell front Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign ~
Tourism Ireland today launched details of its marketing strategy and plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2023, at an event attended by hundreds of tourism industry leaders from around Northern Ireland.
Tourism Ireland aims to rebuild revenue from overseas holidaymakers to pre-pandemic levels – by attracting ‘value-adding tourists’ (visitors who stay longer, spend more in Northern Ireland and the regions, arrive during the shoulder season and consider their impact on the environment) and by focusing on markets that deliver the greatest revenue. This will be achieved through a wide range of promotional activities, including major marketing campaigns, publicity and programming, social media and digital marketing, as well as working with the tourism industry at home and the travel trade overseas to facilitate sales.
This year, Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of activity with a marketing budget of £70 million.
Sustainability will be at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s work over the coming years. As well as focusing on the economic sustainability of the tourism industry (the contribution overseas tourism makes to economic prosperity and, in particular, to jobs and livelihoods), Tourism Ireland’s strategy also has social sustainability (the benefit that communities across Northern Ireland experience from overseas tourism) and environmental sustainability at its core.
New global campaign
Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – Fill your heart with Ireland – was unveiled at today’s launch. The new ads feature Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, from Derry Girls, and Sharon Horgan, from Bad Sisters. The campaign is all about dialling up what differentiates Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland from other destinations – communicated through various celebrities, who share what fills their hearts with Ireland.
The new campaign will go live from St Patrick’s Day in our top four tourism markets – Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France – and will then be rolled out in nine other important tourism markets around the world.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “As we emerge from Covid, our priority for the year ahead is to drive the return of revenue from overseas holidaymakers to pre-pandemic levels and to ensure that overseas tourism contributes to economic sustainability. In 2023, we will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of promotional activity around the globe. We are excited to unveil our new ‘Fill your heart with Ireland’ global campaign, which will highlight our rich and authentic experiences, breath-taking landscapes and, in particular, our warm welcome.
“We are very aware that there is much uncertainty in the short-term – with ever-changing and significant risks right now, including the war in Ukraine and its implications on the cost of doing business. However, there is optimism for the long-term health of overseas tourism. Our job is to ensure that interest in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, and the recovery in demand for holidays here, continues and that our industry returns to profitability.
“Above all, the need for Tourism Ireland to adopt a flexible and agile approach, taken over recent years, will continue in 2023 and beyond.”
In 2022, Tourism Ireland’s focus was to RESTART overseas tourism. As the year unfolded, international travel rebounded more quickly than anticipated, with 2022 finishing at around 75% of 2019 business. Factors like pent-up demand for travel, deferred bookings and accumulated savings led to a surge in travel here. Air and sea capacity also returned at a faster rate than expected. The priority for this year will be to REBUILD overseas tourism.
Niall Gibbons continued: “In 2022, our priority was to restart overseas tourism, so it was encouraging to see the year finishing at around 75% of 2019 business. Throughout 2022, we undertook our most extensive programme of promotions ever to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Northern Ireland in 2022. Tourism Ireland estimates that the media exposure for Northern Ireland last year was worth an estimated £185 million in equivalent advertising value.
“Our latest wave of research confirms that the desire to travel is stronger than ever. As we move to the REBUILD phase of our strategy for overseas tourism, our aim is to drive business to the regions, ensuring the benefits of tourism are distributed right around Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, on a year-round basis.”