We attended the annual Tourism Ireland Marketing event last week, to hear about the exciting plans for 2016. Tourism Ireland are setting their sights on another record year – expecting to welcome approximately 8.2 million visitors! This figure will represent growth of +4% over 2015 and deliver €4.4 billion to the Irish economy next year.
Jonathon Bell MLA and Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Investment, gave an inspiring and enthusiastic welcome address, with Shane Clarke, Brian Ambrose and Niall Gibbons identifying a number of key themes to underpin its promotional activity in 2016.
German / French Market
Last year there were large increases in the number of German and French visitors in particular to Northern Ireland, with almost 615k from Germany and 500k from France.
It’s interesting to note that the Germans are the biggest travelers in the world, after the Chinese, due to their 30 days annual leave. 36% of French coming are repeat visitors, so this is a great opportunity for NI, especially for those who have already visited the south. A coastal theme is important for both markets, with the Germans being typically drawn to The Gobbins cliff path new attraction, and the French generally loving to visit the Game of Thrones sets.
North American Market
1 in 3 Canadians who come to Ireland come to NI, making this an extremely important market for us. The high percentage of North Americans having Scots Irish / Ulster Scots heritage provide great leverage for tourism in NI. The fact that we are hosting The Open in 2019 will attract thousands of golfing fans from both these markets, as they travel long distances for this prestigious event. Next year we look forward to having 12 gateways from USA/ Canada into Dublin and in 2015 we’ve seen improved air access with our own Belfast airports, with a capacity increase of 35%.
We continue to work in partnership with Tourism Ireland and all our local suppliers in playing our part with these fantastic stats and look forward to welcoming you soon. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be delighted to assist you!