A Breath of Fresh Air for Dublin as Minister Donohoe Launches New Brand and Marketing Campaign

16th October, 2015

€1m Earmarked for First Phase of New Public/Private Marketing Initiative to reposition Dublin as a unique destination


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports, Paschal Donohoe TD, today unveiled a new tourism marketing campaign for Dublin which seeks to reposition the city and county as a destination and secure its appeal to overseas visitors for the long-term future. With €1m earmarked for the first phase, funded by Fáilte Ireland, the four Dublin local authorities and a collection of private-sector partners, the marketing campaign will centre on a new brand for Dublin and will be pitched at potential visitors in the UK and Europe throughout the Autumn.


Today’s initiative, launched in Croke Park, follows many months of comprehensive work and consultation, coordinated by the ‘Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance’ (GDTA), between all the key players within the tourism industry in Dublin – both public and private sector. The GDTA was established by Fáilte Ireland to develop the plans set out inDestination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020   which was published in early 2014 and which recommended that a new brand and marketing campaign be developed for Dublin.


Speaking today, Minister Donohoe emphasised: ‘We all know that this year was a really good year for tourism in Dublin with the city thronged with tourists and our hotels full throughout the summer.  However, we need to look to Dublin’s long-term appeal and to guarantee that, whatever happens in external markets or however currencies fluctuate, Dublin continues to attract visitors and compete with other city destinations overseas’.


“What we have here in Dublin is unique. We have a young, vibrant, happening city with a rich culture and heritage which is nestled between the wide open spaces of Dublin Bay and the Dublin mountains. There is no point, however, in being Europe’s best kept secret and I very much welcome this new campaign to reposition the city and county and ensure that its unique appeal cuts through in the international marketplace.”


A new brand for Dublin

Following extensive research in overseas markets to find out what prospective visitors look for when choosing a destination and, having also widely consulted the capital’s interested stakeholders, the GDTA has developed a new brand for the city which captures Dublin’s unique appeal for visitors:

‘Dublin – A breath of Fresh Air’

This new brand (with associated logo and designs) seeks to communicate Dublin’s unique position as a vibrant capital city bursting with a variety of surprising experiences and a destination where city living thrives side by side with the natural outdoors. In other words, Dublin is a city but more than just a city and, nestled alongside mountains and sea, it provides an experience not found in other cities. You can get a glimpse of the new brand and look here [LINK TO VIDEO].


Speaking at today’s launch, Michael Carey, Chairman of the GDTA, explained: ‘All of us around the table – tourism businesses, retailers, representative associations and State agencies – feel that this new brand captures the essence of what makes Dublin different. Given its size and proximity to sea and countryside, Dublin can offer up a variety of experiences not usually found in a European city. It provides, for a city break, a difference – a breath of fresh air’.


“This brand and look will now permeate all our marketing of Dublin and it is envisaged that all stakeholders in the industry will adopt it in their own marketing, advocates for the city will use it when talking with friends and colleagues abroad and developers within the tourism sector will use it when designing new projects”.


A joint marketing campaign

From next week (Monday 19th October), the new brand will feature strongly in a marketing campaign in the UK, including targeted transport and commuter outdoor advertising. A marketing campaign will also begin shortly in France and Germany with an emphasis on digital and social media marketing. Digital marketing will also play a significant role in communicating the new brand at home in order to rally Dublin businesses and the wider public behind the new messaging.


The new Dublin marketing campaign is being financed through a joint public/private marketing fund. Of the €1m committed to the first phase of the marketing campaign, Fáilte Ireland is providing €450,000 towards the fund, the four local authorities in Dublin city and county are contributing €300,000, Dublin Hotels are providing €150,000 and the balance is being provided by other private sector operators, including: Brown Thomas; the Guinness Storehouse; Irish Distillers; the Restaurants Association of Ireland; the Licenced Vintners Association; The Dublin Airport Authority; the Dublin Chamber of Commerce; Dublintown (the Dublin City Business Improvement District); the Dublin City Business Association; Irish Ferries; Epic Ireland; Retail Excellence Ireland; and Croke Park. It is envisaged that this funding model will also be used to fund further campaigns next year and beyond.


The campaign seeks to reposition Dublin from a city that is defined mainly as an party city to a ‘must visit’ destination with an evolving breadth and depth of stimulating experiences to see and do. It is designed to move the perception of Dublin from a weak and one dimensional image to that of a city pulsing with life, from its ever evolving culture and curiosity to its vibrant people – emphasising that the city breathes life into those who visit. Furthermore, the campaign will stress that Dublin has a spontaneous openness, both in its city layout and its friendliness, which allows visitors to enter freely and easily find surprising experiences as its compact nature ensures that it is easy to explore what the entire city and region has to offer.


Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn added: ‘This is the first Dublin-dedicated tourism campaign in many years and it is very much a welcome development. Firstly, it is necessary as Dublin is in danger of allowing its brand to become a bit stale while our competitor cities overseas have actually been reinventing themselves’.


“Secondly, this initiative is a great example of the joined-up working that Irish tourism very much needs if we are to enjoy sustained and robust growth in the years ahead. This initiative has been dependent on tourism operators, sports, arts and culture interests and the wider business community working closer together as never before. To fully ensure we are successful in our ambitions for this enterprise, we would also encourage the wider community and all who love Dublin to get behind the new brand and messaging and support us as we promote a Dublin with a difference.”


An Action Plan for Dublin

The GTDA today also published the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance Progress and Action Plan. Within this document, the GDTA have identified a number of crucial enablers to sustain growth in Dublin, including: funding; branding; collaboration and measurement. A number of core parts of the visitor experience have also been identified for prioritisation, such as the access and transport; accommodation and food; and the cruise passenger experience.


Originally in 2012, when work on repositioning Dublin began, the ambition was to grow the total number of visits to 6.2m by 2020, with international tourist spending almost doubling to some €2.5bn from an initial base of €1.4 billion. However, growth in tourism in Dublin during 2014 and 2015 has been at approximately 12% per annum due mainly to recovering economic conditions and, for now, favourable currency rates. It is now estimated that the original 2020 target will now be realised if a 6.5% rate of growth is achieved annually between 2016 and 2020. A snapshot of Dublin’s current performance can be viewed here [LINK].


However, sustained growth cannot be taken for granted and GDTA Chairman Michael Carey pointed out: ‘Tourists aren’t aware of what Dublin has to offer and what makes it distinct. Compared to other European cities, Dublin is seen as ‘dusty’ and old-fashioned. To compete with other cities, we need to reposition Dublin from the current narrow and ‘dusty’ interpretation to one that encapsulates Dublin’s dynamic and bustling personality. If we continue to be content with the status quo, we will fall behind compared to  competitor destination cities’.


Director of Dublin for Fáilte Ireland, Orla Carroll also cautioned against complacency: ‘Other competitor cities in Europe are focussed on achieving aggressive growth, and unless Dublin can keep pace with competitors, we may soon fall too far behind to compete at this high level in the tourism arena. While conditions are good at present, rather than resting on our laurels we must treat this period as a critical window now to future-proof Dublin against our competitor markets’.


“In particular, our 2020 targets cannot be achieved without significant change in the accommodation sector. In order to facilitate the projected increase in visitor numbers, accommodation in Dublin must be increased substantially. A change in public policy to aid more accommodations coming on-stream may be a necessary avenue for exploration”.

The full report can be accessed here [LINK].


Notes for Editor



Fáilte Ireland

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.


The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 205,000 people and generates over € 3.5  billion in overseas revenue a year.


Growing tourism numbers and revenue are important factors when it comes to job creation within the tourism sector. For example –

  • Every 55 international tourist visits helps support one tourism job
  • 1,000 additional tourists support 18 jobs in the tourism industry
  • Every €1 million of tourist expenditure helps to support 34 tourism jobs


The Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance

The Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance was established by Fáilte Ireland following the publication of Destination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020 which had been developed in 2014 by the Grow Dublin Taskforce, representing tourism and business interests in the city.


That report, while emphasising that tourism is important to Dublin in terms of revenue and jobs, found that the capital was underperforming and had slipped behind its main city competitors in Europe.  Although Dublin is now enjoying a recovery, Destination Dublin pointed to a fundamental weakness that would have to be addressed for the city and county to sustain long-term growth – a real awareness of Dublin and all that it can offer is not fully appreciated in those market segments which hold the most potential for growth in international visitor numbers. The report set out a roadmap for growing Dublin’s tourism in the years ahead – including identifying those market segments with most promise, outlining the need for a new brand and more modern image for the city and stressing the need for all interests in Dublin to come together to ensure that tourism can fulfil its true potential.


The Grow Dublin Taskforce was established by Fáilte Ireland in late 2012 with the aim of identifying how to bring substantial growth in tourism to Dublin city and region in the period to 2020. This was a senior tourism sector group representing major stakeholders in the public and private sectors. It consulted extensively throughout the tourism sector in Dublin City and Region in order to achieve consensus for the way forward.


The Taskforce conducted extensive research among visitors and potential visitors in key markets to determine their interests and motivations, and to identify the ways in which the Dublin offering addresses them. Based on that research, the Taskforce then set about developing a strategy for growth, underpinned by a new, compelling, and authentic Dublin brand – which was ultimately published as Destination Dublin: A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020.


The Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance is chaired by Michael Carey, founder and executive chairman of The Company of Food, a specialist food investment business. He is the current Chairman of Bord Bia and has extensive marketing experience with a number of Ireland’s best known consumer food products.