Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe announced the launch of a new Tourism Ireland strategy. The new, three-year strategy for growth sets out challenging and ambitious targets which will see the number of Australian visitors grow by +20%, representing almost 220,000 visitors to the island of Ireland, by the end of 2017.
Under Tourism Ireland’s new strategy, Ireland will be positioned to complement, rather than compete with, the most popular European destinations which are the main draw for Australians. When Australians decide to take a long-haul trip to Europe, Ireland then becomes a viable destination as part of that trip. Ireland will also be positioned to compete robustly with other destinations that could potentially divert Australian travellers away from Ireland.
The aim is to position Ireland as the ideal starting point for a European trip, emphasising that it is easy to reach, with frequent, one-stop flights. To compete with some of the iconic attractions of other European destinations, Tourism Ireland will showcase many of the unique, ‘must do’ experiences that are most likely to resonate with the target groups in the Australian market.
The strategy sets out how Tourism Ireland will focus on Ireland’s ‘best prospect’ audiences - those segments of the overall Australian outbound tourism market who represent the highest potential for travel to Ireland. Tourism Ireland will highlight experiences and messages that resonate strongly with these audiences, reaching them where they are most likely to be seeking travel information and advice.
Minister Donohoe said: “The Government recently launched a new policy for tourism - ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ – which will see us grow overseas visit numbers to 10 million a year by 2025 and generate €5 billion a year in overseas tourism revenue; an increase of €1.5 billion on the 2014 figure. This will bring employment in the hospitality sector to 250,000 jobs. That’s an ambitious but realisable target for all of our industry. The work of delivering that growth is already under way and today brings another important building block with this Australian Review and the growth targets it contains. As we plan for continued tourism growth from all our overseas markets, Australia will have an important role to play in helping to sustain our tourism sector, our economy and to both sustain and create jobs in communities right across the country.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Australia has performed well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. We believe this is a market of considerable potential for Ireland over the coming years – given that these high-spending visitors travel right throughout the year and enjoy exploring the regions of Ireland. However, we can’t take this performance for granted; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities to ensure that success continues. Building on the strong performance of recent years, and the increased number of one-stop flights via the Middle East, we have set challenging targets for the 2015-2017 period. I am confident that this new, focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in Australian visitors, between now and 2017.”
The new Tourism Ireland strategy has been developed in close co-operation with a wide range of industry partners, at home and in Australia. It has identified the opportunities which will drive accelerated growth from Australia to Ireland over the coming three years.
The Australian outbound travel market in general has seen remarkable growth in recent years. Australians took more than 14 million trips overseas in 2013; and more than one third of all those trips were made to Europe.