Tourism Ireland is to spend a record €78m on a range of advertising and marketing initiatives around the world in 2023, including a number of campaigns fronted by actresses Sharon Horgan, from Bad Sisters, and Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, from Derry Girls.
Details of the 2023 marketing drive were launched at a Tourism Ireland event attended by Tourism Minister, Catherine Martin this week.
The planned €78m investment by Tourism Ireland represents a €15m increase on 2022 and the money will be spent on 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 help facilitate sales.
“International travel to Ireland rebounded strongly in 2022, but the sector continues to face significant challenges, therefore it is vital that we continue to invest in overseas marketing and the additional funding of €15 million that I secured in Budget 2023 will enable Tourism Ireland to significantly ramp up its promotion of Ireland as world-class tourism experience in key markets,” says Minister Catherine Martin.
According to Tourism Ireland, “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 the island experience from overseas tourism) and environmental sustainability at its core.”
The €78m marketing spend compares with €63m in 2022, €23.7m in 2020 and €52.8m in 2019 and, when complete, it will represent the biggest marketing spend ever by Tourism Ireland as it tries to rebuild revenue from overseas holidaymakers to pre-pandemic levels.
The new advertising and marketing platform – called ‘Fill your heart with Ireland’ – is about “dialling up what differentiates the island of Ireland from other destinations and it will go live from St Patrick’s Day in markets like the UK, the USA, Germany and France. It will then be rolled out in other international markets.
According to Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland – who steps down from the job in April- “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 Ireland, and the recovery in demand for holidays here, continues and that our industry returns to profitability,” he says.
Gibbons continues: “In 2022, our priority was to restart overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, 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 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 Ireland in 2022. Tourism Ireland estimates that the media exposure last year was worth an estimated €610 million in equivalent advertising value.”