Tourism Ireland and Minister Donohoe launch €11m autumn campaign

10th September, 2014

  • Autumn promotional blitz targets late-season travellers around the world
  • Festival focus for Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign

 Tourism Ireland and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe have launched an €11 million promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Ireland from around the world. The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of Ireland’s annual overseas tourism business.

The campaign will highlight the many festivals and events taking place right around the island this autumn – from the Dublin Festival Season (which includes Tiger Dublin Fringefest, the Dublin Theatre Festival, Open House Dublin and the Bram Stoker Festival), to Culture Night, the Belfast Festival at Queens, Wexford Festival Opera, Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, Cork Jazz Festival and the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival. Tourism Ireland will also continue to highlight Limerick City of Culture, including the many literary-themed events and activities taking place this autumn – taking every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of this year-long celebration of culture for the city.


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe said: “Working to keep tourist numbers up, outside the traditional travel period of the summer months, is key to securing jobs in the industry all year round and building on our successes to date. Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign will target markets from as close as Britain and as far away as Australia, China and India through a range of different media. By working with our airline and ferry partners and assisting media and bloggers to come and explore the Wild Atlantic Way and elsewhere, we can continue to reach around the world with the message that Ireland offers an excellent year-round experience for tourists. This campaign, which places a firm focus on the arts and our rich heritage, aims to entice the ‘culturally curious’, while extensive online marketing endeavours to turn ‘lookers into bookers’. I will be travelling to Boston later this month to attend the iFest and the Jump into Ireland events, to see at first-hand how promotions such as these operate and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world.”


Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: “We have seen strong growth of almost +10% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first seven months of 2014. We are determined to keep that momentum going and ensure that tourism growth continues. Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends in our target markets, as there is still plenty of business to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a good opportunity with many world-class festivals and events happening around the island.


“In addition, Tourism Ireland will bring about 200 top overseas travel agents and tour operators to the island of Ireland this autumn, to meet with hundreds of Irish tourism businesses and negotiate inclusion in their 2015 brochures and programmes”,  Niall Gibbons added.


The campaign – which is being rolled out in Great Britain, the United States, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets – will incorporate a major focus on city breaks as well as on attracting visitors to more rural areas over the coming months. Highlights of the activity include co-operative promotions with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Stena Line, transatlantic and long-haul airlines like United Airlines, Air Canada rouge and Emirates; TV, radio, print and online advertising; as well as extensive digital, PR and social media activity.


Other highlights from the campaign include:

  • On ‘Location’ with Phil Spencer: Tourism Ireland in Britain has teamed up with Phil Spencer, co-presenter of Channel 4’s TV series Location Location Location, to produce four online films which are set to reach about 6.5 million people across Britain.
  • In the United States, Tourism Ireland will sponsor the travel showcase at iFest, a brand new Irish festival and showcase of contemporary Irish culture, entertainment and innovation, which takes place in Boston at the end of this month.
  • Two major co-operative campaigns – with Aer Lingus and Ryanair – will run in our main markets across Europe, highlighting good value fares to Ireland for the autumn period and early 2015.
  • An Australian TV production company will film along the Wild Atlantic Way in September for two popular TV shows; and several French TV crews will also film here this autumn, including the M6 Channel for a programme about Game of Thrones and its connection with Northern Ireland.
  • Hitting the Road: Tourism Ireland’s 2014 China sales mission will see the organisation and 18 Irish tourism enterprises ‘blitz’ three major cities in China later this month. Tourism Ireland will also travel with 12 Irish tourism partners for a 10-day sales mission to Australia and New Zealand in November.


Notes to Editors

Tourism Ireland’s global autumn campaign includes:


Great Britain

  • On ‘Location’ with Phil Spencer: 6.5 million across GB to see new films

Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Phil Spencer, co-presenter of the hit Channel 4 TV series Location Location Location, and Classic FM, one of Britain’s largest radio stations, in a novel promotion aimed at our ‘culturally curious’ audience in GB this autumn. Four online films, fronted by Phil Spencer, have been produced – featuring Dublin, Northern Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way and other locations around the island. The films will be promoted on the Classic FM website over a four-week period, from mid-September until mid-October. The campaign is expected to reach about 6.5 million people across Britain.

  • Targeting 11.6 million Telegraph and Guardian readers

Some 11.6 million ‘culturally curious’ holidaymakers will see double-page spreads advertising Ireland in the Guardian (4.9 million) and Telegraph (6.7 million) during September and October; and information about holidays and short breaks here on the websites of both newspapers.

  • Highlighting Dublin and Belfast to 3 million ‘social energisers’

Tourism Ireland’s Craic Dublin and Check Belfast films will highlight city breaks in Dublin and Belfast, to almost 3 million ‘social energisers’, between now and the end of the year – through ITV Player, 4 On Demand, YouTube and other online platforms.

  • Dublin and Belfast ‘go viral’

A viral video campaign will also highlight Dublin and Belfast to hundreds of thousands of ‘social energisers’ in GB – on YouTube and through social sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Publicity spotlight

Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn, targeting national and regional print, broadcast and online media throughout Britain, with lots of positive stories about the island of Ireland. Influential bloggers and journalists have been invited to experience events like the Dublin Festival Season, Killarney Adventure Race and Wexford Festival Opera; and a crew from Sky Sports will film in Cork this month for Tight Lines (a popular fishing programme). Also in September, the editor of Coach Monthly, a specialist publication read by about 6,000 coach tour operators across Britain, has been invited to experience the Wild Atlantic Way in Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.

  • Co-operation with key partners

A busy programme of co-operative campaigns with air and sea carriers – including Aer Lingus, Flybe, easyJet, Stena Line and P&O – is in the pipeline for this autumn. Campaigns will also be undertaken with major online travel agents like Expedia,,, Travelzoo, Hostelworld and eBookers – to drive bookings during September and the rest of the year. Tourism Ireland will also work with leading British tour operators, including cottages4you, Caledonian Travel, Superbreak and GreatDays Travel.

Tourism Ireland will team up with Secret Escapes (an exclusive members-only travel club) and Canon cameras, to showcase the Wild Atlantic Way – using stunning photography supplied by Canon and promoting accommodation offers along the Wild Atlantic Way, bookable through Secret Escapes.

And Tourism Ireland will also partner with Heathrow Airport, bringing messages about Dublin Festival Season and great city breaks in Ireland to some 1.2 million members of the Heathrow Rewards loyalty programme.

  • Promoting to the influential travel trade

About 40 influential GB coach and group tour operators have been invited by Tourism Ireland to workshops in Belfast and Cork, where they will meet with a range of Irish tourism enterprises and negotiate for their 2015 programmes.

  • World Travel Market

Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in November. This year, about 55 Irish tourism enterprises will join Tourism Ireland at WTM, the largest B2B event in the global tourism calendar.

  • Growing business tourism

Corporate meetings and association conferences continue to be the focus of Tourism Ireland’s business tourism promotions in GB this autumn. Twenty-eight Irish tourism enterprises will take part in a new ‘Showcase Ireland’ B2B workshop and networking event in Manchester, in mid-September, to do business with about 40 leading conference and meetings organisers. And Tourism Ireland’s ‘Ireland Meets the West End’ in London, another important B2B event, will take place again this year, in November, with 40 Irish business tourism companies signed up to attend.

  • ‘Teeing up’ our world-class golf

Tourism Ireland will sponsor a golf day in September, at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey, highlighting our world-class golf to almost 100 influential corporate buyers and golf travel professionals. Also, in September, Tourism Ireland will sponsor a Co-operation Ireland golf event at the prestigious Welcombe Hotel & Golf Course, in Stratford-upon-Avon – which is due to be attended by more than 60 corporate and business leaders from the midlands in GB. Co-operative campaigns continue this autumn, with top online golf tour operators Your Golf Travel and Golfbreaks.

  • Spreading the good news about car touring in Ireland

Once again, Tourism Ireland will have a presence at the Goodwood Revival in Chichester, in mid-September. This is one of the largest vintage car festival events in GB, attracting about 150,000 visitors and offering a fantastic platform to spread the good news about car touring holidays around the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland will also attend the Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, in mid-November – the most popular car exhibition in GB.


North America

  • Autumn advertising campaigns

Some 2.5 million Americans are seeing full-page Ireland ads, with accompanying full-page advertorial features, in the September editions of glossy magazines Afar, Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure. An online ad campaign – targeting our ‘culturally curious’ audience – will run until the end of November on a range of premium online networks, such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL, ABC, CBS, National Geographic and the History Channel. An online campaign is also under way, targeting millions of ‘social energiser’ holidaymakers.   

Another extensive online tactical ad campaign, designed to turn more ‘lookers into bookers’, will run until the end of October. Online ads, featuring compelling Ireland vacation offers, are being put in front of potential travellers at the ‘active planning’ stage and appearing on popular sites like TravelZoo, Travel Spike, Shermans Travel, JetSetter and Dunhill Travel Deals; and communicated via dedicated e-blasts to third-party commercial partner databases (of frequent travellers), reaching some 22 million potential holidaymakers across the US.

Tourism Ireland will sponsor the autumn re-run of series four of the hugely popular Downton Abbey on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service, a non-profit public TV network), ahead of the launch of series five in 2015, reaching 650,000 households each week in New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

And, capitalising on the new, year-round, direct flights from Canada to Ireland, Tourism Ireland launched a new online campaign in early September, which will run until November. It will reach over 20 million Canadians, presenting off-season holiday ideas and offers and inspiring them to travel to Ireland, in the November to April period. This campaign includes online advertising on key websites, a series of feature articles on and initiatives with Expedia to highlight the great holiday offers available.

  • Travel trade and media blitzes

Tourism Ireland and partners will ‘pound the pavements’ in the US once again this autumn, through a series of sales blitzes, targeting hundreds of travel agents in the key cities of Chicago and Boston (in September) and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle (in November). The busy schedule of B2B events in each city will showcase the regions of Ireland via a 60-minute travel TV show format and will also include media networking – providing an excellent opportunity for the participating Irish tourism enterprises to showcase and sell their product to the key decision-makers they meet in the various cities.

Irish tourism companies will also take part in ‘Connect Canada II’ – Tourism Ireland’s four-day sales blitz in October, which will target influential travel agents in western Canada, in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

  • Ø  ‘Team Ireland’ promotes in Boston

Tourism Ireland will sponsor the travel showcase at iFest, a brand new Irish festival and showcase of contemporary Irish culture, entertainment and innovation – which takes place at Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, at the end of September. It will feature spectacular dance showcases with Riverdance performers and a line-up which includes Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. Tourism Ireland

  • Publicity spotlight

Influential travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from the US and Canada have been invited to visit the island of Ireland this autumn – including award-winning Canadian travel bloggers Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbell, whose blog is called The Planet D; and a crew from Discovery Channel’s The Travel Guy, who will film two episodes along the Wild Atlantic Way, in October. A group of journalists from the west coast in the US will visit at the end of September – and will, in turn, highlight ease of access to Dublin from San Francisco to their readers. Specialist American journalists have also been invited to attend the Adventure Travel World Summit in Killarney, in October.

Other publicity highlights include a partnership with glow magazine – the most popular fashion and beauty magazine in Canada with about 600,000 readers. The magazine will feature two, eight-page fashion stories on Dublin and Wicklow in its autumn and winter editions.

  • Co-operation with airlines serving Ireland

Co-operative campaigns with the various airlines serving the island of Ireland from the United States – including Aer Lingus, Delta, United Airlines and the newly-merged US Airways/American Airlines – are under way this autumn. For example, activity with US Airways/American Airlines includes print and digital advertising, exposure through the in-flight film, as well as articles over the coming months in American Way and Celebrated Living (inflight magazines). In Canada, Tourism Ireland is working with Aer Lingus and Air Canada rouge. And Dublin features in the September edition of Air Canada’s enRoute (inflight magazine) – on the front cover and in an eight-page feature.

  • Canadian and US Expos: promoting to the influential travel trade

A Canadian Expo takes place in Dublin this month, when Irish tourism enterprises will have the opportunity to meet and do business with about 30 carefully selected, top-producing Canadian travel agents. And 45 high end American travel agents will also fly in for the annual US Expo, which takes place in October, in Dromoland Castle.

  • Growing business tourism from the US

Tourism Ireland will continue to build awareness of the island of Ireland as a world-class destination for association conferences and incentive travel, this autumn. The programme will include a significant presence – with 30 partners from Ireland – at IMEX America in October, a three-day show which targets decision-makers in the lucrative MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector.

  • ‘Teeing up’ our world-class golf

Tourism Ireland’s TV and digital ad campaign continues until after the Ryder Cup – reaching millions of golf enthusiasts across the US on the popular Golf Channel and online, on Co-operative activity with Perry Golf includes full-page ads in the Houston Links and Dallas Links magazines this September, ads on and radio ads.

  • Email marketing

Tourism Ireland’s email marketing will reach almost 350,000 Americans and 60,000 Canadians each month this autumn, highlighting partner offers and compelling reasons to visit, in particular the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as key events like Limerick City of Culture.


Mainland Europe

  • Two major co-operative campaigns will run in our main markets across Europe this autumn. In September, Tourism Ireland will partner with Aer Lingus – in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark (and in Spain in October), promoting flights to Ireland for the autumn period and early 2015, through a mix of online advertising, email marketing and social media advertising. In October, a campaign with Ryanair will run in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium.
  • Tourism Ireland has invited almost 40 top European tour operators to take part in familiarisation visits of the Wild Atlantic Way, in mid-October; these will be followed by networking events with Irish partners in Galway and the North West.
  • Tourism Ireland is also partnering with – highlighting city breaks and festivals through online and video banner ads, to thousands of customers across Europe who have been identified as ‘Ireland prospects’ by


Activity in individual European markets includes:

  • Germany
    • Twenty-two Irish tourism partners will travel to Offenbach in November, to take part in Tourism Ireland’s B2B workshop and networking event with key German, Swiss and Austrian tour operators.
    • Business tourism promotions will include a familiarisation visit to Dublin and the South East for influential corporate and incentive buyers; a new online MICE Academy or training programme aimed at raising awareness among German MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) agency buyers of the excellent business tourism offering right around Ireland; as well as a B2B workshop in Munich at the end of October, targeting senior representatives of companies in southern Germany involved in the MICE sector.
  • France
    • Tourism Ireland will team up with Brittany Ferries for a ‘book early for 2015’ campaign, highlighting car touring, coach tours and family holidays to Ireland.
    • Tourism Ireland will run online ads on My Little Paris (an extremely popular website) in September and October, promoting city breaks in Dublin and Belfast to our ‘social energiser’ audience.
    • Eight Irish tourism enterprises will join Tourism Ireland for this year’s IFTM (International French Travel Market), the largest travel trade exhibition in France, at the end of September.
    • Tourism Ireland will also have a presence at Loisir Expo (trade fair) in Paris, in September, to boost group travel from France.
    • A number of French TV crews will film in Ireland this autumn – including Faut pas Rêver for France 3 (the second largest public TV channel in France); Seasons TV (about angling in Ireland); and 100% Mag for the M6 Channel (about Game of Thrones and its connection with Northern Ireland).
    • An autumn online campaign kicks off in mid-September, highlighting Dublin and Belfast to our ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audience in France.
    • Business tourism promotions will include familiarisation visits for influential corporate and incentive buyers; as well as a presence at Meedex (a business tourism workshop in Paris) – with five Irish partners – in September.
  • Spain
    • The ELT (English language teaching) sector is hugely important in Spain, with approximately 25,000 students visiting the island of Ireland each year. An online campaign will run (on higher education portals and on the popular Spanish social media site, Tuenti) during September and October, targeting professional young adults (18 to 30 year-olds) for off-season travel; and email marketing will also target consumers in Madrid and Barcelona with an interest in travel and education.
    • In October, Tourism Ireland will team up with Logitravel – the third largest online travel agent (OTA) in Spain – for a print and online campaign which will be seen by millions of potential holidaymakers across Spain. With several long weekends coming up for Spaniards in the latter part of the year, this is an ideal time to push off-season weekend breaks.
    • Print and outdoor ads in Madrid metro stations during October, in conjunction with leading Spanish tour operator Viajes el Corte Inglés, will also help boost travel in the last quarter.
  • Italy
    • A busy digital campaign will highlight Dublin as the perfect city break destination this autumn – through email marketing and social media. This will be complemented by co-operative activity with leading Italian online travel agents (OTAs) Volagratis and eDreams.
    • Tourism Ireland – and partners – will have a presence at TTG Incontri (one of the most important trade fairs in Italy) in Rimini, in October.
  • Northern Europe
    • Tourism Ireland’s annual trade workshop in the Netherlands took place at the beginning of September, with 12 Irish partners meeting and doing business for 2015 with more than 40 top Dutch tour operators, travel agents and online travel agents (OTAs).


Australia and Developing Markets

  • All set for prime time on Australian TV

An Australian TV production company has been invited to film along the Wild Atlantic Way this September, for two popular TV shows – a one-hour Ireland travel special, called Explore Ireland and a weekly gardening show The Garden Gurus. Each show will air to hundreds of thousands of people around Australia, in January and autumn 2015 respectively. And, Tourism Ireland has also invited Dublin-born chef and restaurateur Colin Fassnidge, who has become a celebrity chef in his adopted Australia, to come and film a brand new, two-part travel and cooking show here this autumn, called Colin’s Ireland.

  • Radio and print promotions in Australia

A radio campaign on 2GB, a popular radio station in Sydney, has just kicked off. Between now and the end of the year, it will feature interviews on the station’s Travel Show – with host Glenn Wheeler highlighting lots of different holiday experiences around the island of Ireland; and an entire programme will be dedicated to Ireland in mid-September. Also, a 16-page Ireland supplement will be distributed in November with The Weekend Australian (national newspaper).

  • Co-operation with key partners

Tourism Ireland in Australia will co-operate with various travel partners this autumn, such as Emirates, helloworld, Escape Travel (part of the Flight Centre Group, Australasia’s largest retail travel agency group), Tempo Holidays, Quantas Holidays, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar and CIE Tours International – through a mix of print and online advertising campaigns, as well as in-store promotions. For example, Tourism Ireland and CIE Tours will advertise coach tour holidays to Ireland, in September and October, in Woman’s Weekly magazine (Australia’s leading glossy magazine with some 2.6 million readers).

Working with Emirates and Avis, Tourism Ireland will highlight our world-class golf, as well as driving holidays in Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way, at an Ireland Golf Day in Sydney this September, with about 70 leading Australian travel trade and media in attendance.

  • Promoting to the influential travel trade

A 32-page supplement will appear in Travel Weekly magazine, at the end of September – produced jointly by Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain – highlighting the island of Ireland and GB to the influential travel trade during the important ‘early bird’ booking season in Australia.

  • Hitting the road Down Under

Twelve tourism partners from around the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for a ten-day sales mission to Australia and New Zealand this November.

  • Tourism Ireland leads sales mission to China

Tourism Ireland, together with 18 Irish tourism enterprises, will blitz three major cities in China this month, as part of a targeted sales mission to increase the profile of Ireland among Chinese travel professionals. The sales mission will target top Chinese travel agents and tour operators in the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

  • Developing Markets workshop

A developing markets workshop will take place in Dublin in October, when Tourism Ireland will invite about 45 influential travel trade contacts from China, India, the GCC, South Africa, Brazil and Russia to meet and do business with approximately 90 Irish tourism operators.

  • A taste of Ireland at ‘Flavours’ event in London

Tourism Ireland’s annual ‘Flavours of Ireland’ event takes place in London, at the beginning of October. The B2B tourism workshop, which aims to grow our share of the huge worldwide tourism market, will see about 100 representatives of the top GB-based inbound tour operators come together to do business with 45 Irish tourism organisations.