Herald op-ed on new brand identity for Dublin

17th October, 2015

Dublin is a city of a thousand welcomes, of a million things to see and do. Nestled between the wide open spaces of Dublin Bay and the Dublin Mountains, I believe that it is one of the greatest cities on earth. Unfortunately, not all potential visitors feel the same. The perception of our great city (and county) has, over time, become jaded and while it appears that the city streets are awash with tourists, the reality is we have no guarantee that this will always be the case.


Despite the fact that that we are attracting tourists in record numbers, the truth is that Dublin is underperforming compared to cities such as Copenhagen, Edinburghand Berlin, against which we compete for market share. In some quarters we are not yet on their radar, while in others our brand has become stale and we are positioned either as a dusty and old-fashioned city or simply a place of one dimension – a party city – with little else to offer. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Not only does Dublin offer visitors an exciting city break, we can also provide lots of outdoor activities right on our doorstep. This is something not easily found in other cities. In order to ensure we make the most of what we have and project the most positive image of Dublin as a ‘must visit’ destination, I established the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance (GDTA) last year to develop a brand identity for Dublin that embodies all that we are about; A Breath of Fresh Air.


This idea is designed to move people away from the poor perception they may have of us to a more accurate view of Dublin as a city that is pulsing with life and vibrancy; one that welcomes and breathes life into those who visit. Our intention is that this brand will be adopted by all within the industry in their own marketing efforts, so that everyone is pulling together for maximum effect. Our hope too is that you, the people who really love Dublin, will take it to your hearts and get behind and support us as we promote Dublin in the way it deserves to be promoted.


By doing this we can ensure that tourists see us as the mature and modern city we really are, instead of viewing us through an out-dated prism that no longer represents us. This will help achieve our tourism goals of increasing the number of tourists we receive year on year. It will also help in further bolstering the businesses that rely on tourism, so that we can maintain the jobs we have now and create new ones in the future.


The launch of this new and exciting initiative for all of Dublin will be followed up by a marketing campaign next week in the UK, which will be rolled out across Europe throughout the autumn. It is an initiative that is being funded by Failte Ireland, our four local authorities and the accommodation, restaurant, retail and wider business sectors.  One million euro is being invested in the initial stage of the plan.


We have been through a few tough years but we are building ourselves back up again. Now is the time to tell the world about everything our story entails. This year we are on track to record the greatest number of tourists ever to Ireland. My job is to help make that happen and to see that Dublin is positioned as one of the greatest cities on earth. Now won’t that be a breath of fresh air?