Minister Donohoe establishes new group under Fáilte Ireland to drive Dublin tourism forward

14th November, 2014

Cohesive brand identity for the capital would allow us to attract more tourists, boost job creation and enhance revenue streams


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Friday) announced the establishment of a group to develop a brand identity for Dublin, drive tourism in the capital forward and allow us to compete competitively for market share with other cities across Europe.


The group, which is being set up under Fáilte Ireland and will be known as the ‘Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance’, will be led by the Chairman of Bord Bia, Michael Carey (see notes to editors), who will be responsible for implementing the Grow Dublin Taskforce strategy set out last year.


The Destination Dublin strategy found that while the last number of years have shown the beginnings of a recovery where tourism is concerned, Dublin is underperforming against its potential and has the capacity to attract even more tourists than is currently the case.  The benchmarking report by the Grow Dublin Taskforce last year found that the annual percentage growth in terms of bednights in Dublin between 2008-2012 was just 1%, where our competitor cities of Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam were significantly outperforming us with growth rates of 10.5%, 8.3% and 4.1% respectively.


Minster Donohoe is establishing the group, which will focus on marketing Dublin city and region in a unified way for the first time ever, to encourage greater tourist numbers and ultimately to create jobs.


Minister Donohoe said; ‘If a capital city does not fulfil its potential in terms of tourism that has implications for the rest of the country, for the creation of jobs and for the amount of revenue the State takes in. The Wild Atlantic Way has been a huge success for the west of Ireland and with a strategy currently being developed for the South-East, it is time to look at Dublin’s performance and put a cohesive strategy in place to ensure the maximum performance of our capital city.


“Dublin has the potential to be much more of a driver for overseas tourism than it has been.  When the recession hit, Dublin’s overseas visits and bednights fell in line with those across Ireland generally.  However, looking across Europe at our competitors, many cities were able to continue to grow visits and bednights even as tourism overall fell back across Europe. Dublin is a great tourism destination, but the world of international tourism is so competitive these days that we cannot afford to have what should be an engine for tourism in Ireland idling.


“The Grow Dublin Taskforce (GDT) brought together senior stakeholders from industry, State agencies, local authorities and international destination experts to examine Dublin tourism and to devise a strategy to help Dublin strive competitively for market share. That strategy will now be implemented by the new group, which will be headed up by Michael Carey.


“In 2007, 4.5 million visitors from overseas brought €1.45 billion in revenue into Dublin. By 2012, tourism figures were down 18% and revenues were down 12.6%. Part of the reason for this is that weare competing with cities that are positioned with greater clarity, stronger impact and a more competitive appeal. The GDT found that as many as 300 brands have been used by various groups to promote various aspects of Dublin; a fact that is a cause of confusion for potential tourists whose awareness of what Dublin has to offer is sometimes not as good as it could be and whose perception of the capital is sometimes inaccurate.


“Cities, such as Copenhagen, have shown sustained levels of growth, even during the recessionary period. And initiatives such as ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’, which is a not-for profit, public/private partnership, has seen sectoral marketing drives like ‘Cruise Copenhagen’ and ‘Meet Copenhagen’ increase tourism rates in that city by more than 8% year on between 2008-2012. There is no reason why Dublin cannot do the same.


“To do this, a sustainable funding model will have to be put in place. This will require a balance of funding from the public and private sector, with the current rate of public sector funding being maintained and a new private sector funding stream being identified and drawn from, which the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance will be responsible for.


“We have seen steady growth in tourism figures nationally, with an increase of more than 9% so far this year. But we cannot afford to be complacent. Dublin has so much to offer and by harnessing the skills of all relevant stakeholders, as well as that of Dubliners themselves, we can send a strong message to the rest of the world that Dublin is top of the list in terms of global city destinations. My ambition is to increase the number of tourist to Ireland to 10 million, the amount of revenue we take in to €5 billion and to have 250,000 people working in tourism related industries each year by 2025. Dublin has a strong role to play in that and this group will be instrumental in helping us deliver to that end.”


Head of the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance, Michael Carey, said: ‘This is an opportunity to establish an appropriate source of funds and to allocate it in a way that will change how Dublin is perceived and experienced by visitors. By getting the right group together to guide this process, providing a new focus on Dublin, I believe we can get extraordinary results’.


“I am excited by the prospect of devising a clear and compelling brand for Dublin. I look forward to working with the relevant agencies, the key commercial stakeholders and some of Ireland’s brightest branding specialists to define and establish a compelling brand with which visitors can identify. Dublin has much to offer visitors, we need to ensure we optimise that experience and manage its reputation as a leading city destination.”


Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, emphasised: ‘We have a great capital city but nobody ever got ahead by standing still and Dublin is in danger of becoming a bit stale while our competitor cities overseas have been reinventing themselves. It’s important that Dublin performs to its full potential. As two out of three visitors arriving in Ireland spend some time in the city, moulding their perception of Ireland, what is good for the capital is good for tourism in the country at large’.


“The recent ‘Destination Dublin’ report was a very timely wake-up call and gave us a valuable blueprint for repositioning Dublin and improving its appeal.  Ultimately, the success of Dublin as a tourism destination will be dependent on tourism operators, sports, arts and culture interests and the wider business community working closer together than ever before and the work of the ‘Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance’ will be crucial in that regard.”


Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093


Notes to editors:

Michael Carey biog:

  • Michael is Executive Chairman of ‘The Company of Food’, a specialist food investment business with shareholdings in a number of private and public food companies.
  • He is also chairman of Bord Bia, as well as chairman of a number of its subsidiary boards/committees.
  • Michael is a member of the Advisory Board of the Smurfit Graduate Business School, and a non-executive director of Drury Porter Novelli PR.
  • He is a judge on the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, chairman of the judging panel for the Business Journalists Awards and a member of the board of both Traidlinks (a private sector NGO with activities in East Africa) and the Soul of Haiti Foundation.
  • He is a former chairman of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and former chairman and majority shareholder of Jacob Fruitfield Food Group.
  • He won the EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2005 and Smurfit Business School Alumnus of the Year 2010.
  • He has held various senior management roles in the food industry including Managing Director of Kellogg’s UK/Ireland and Managing Director of Fox’s Biscuits.