IRELAND’S Tourism Minister is optimistic that travel between Britain and Ireland can enjoy a full recovery following the announcement of a €4.6m marketing campaign to reinvigorate the market.
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin is in London today, on her first overseas promotional visit with Tourism Ireland.
The visit - which will see the Minister attend a networking dinner at the Irish Embassy in London this evening, as well as a meeting with UK-based tour operators and a visit to the London Irish Centre in Camden - is the first major in-person series of events undertaken by Tourism Ireland to promote Ireland since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Ms Martin’s trip also coincides with Tourism Ireland’s launch of their latest marketing campaign, a €4.6 million multi-media promotional push which is hoped will promote travel between Britain and Ireland once again, following the devastating impacts of the pandemic on Ireland’s tourism industry.
Tourism Ireland’s Green Button campaign, which officially launches on October 1, highlights the importance of Britain as a market for tourism to the island of Ireland, which, pre-Covid, delivered 42 per cent of all overseas visitors to the country and around 25 per cent of all overseas tourism revenue.
In 2019, Ireland welcomed almost 4.8 million British visitors to the island of Ireland, whose visits generated around €1.45 billion in revenue, Tourism Ireland confirms.
Speaking in London today, where Minister Martin joined Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons for a photoshoot at the capital’s iconic Tower Bridge, she announced the launch of the campaign.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit London and to meet with many influential members of the tourism industry,” she said.
“Because of the pandemic, this is my first opportunity to work with the agency overseas and I am very pleased to contribute.
“That Great Britain is my first stop is testament to the commitment we have to such an important market.
“The industry has been in survival mode since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and Government support has been critical in this.
“However, with our latest reopening plan, I believe we can start to look towards recovery.”
She added: “Whilst I was very pleased to see that tourism experienced a very good domestic summer season, I am aware that challenges remain for the sector.
“The greatest of these challenges remains the low level of international tourists compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“With this in mind, I am delighted to announce that Tourism Ireland have activated the Green Button campaign and it will launch on October 1 in Great Britain.
“The key message is that we cannot wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome back visitors from our near neighbours in Great Britain.”
Thanking Ms Martin for making time for the visit with Tourism Ireland, Mr Gibbons said: “We are delighted that Minister Martin is joining us overseas for the first time in London this week, to mark the reopening of travel from Great Britain to Ireland.
“She will have the opportunity to hear about the importance of the British market at first-hand from our key media, travel trade and carrier partners.
“She will be assuring them that we look forward to working closely with them in the months and years ahead – to rebuild tourism to the island of Ireland, for the long-term sustainable future of our industry.”
Regarding their Green Button campaign, and the organisation’s ability to rebuild the tourism market between the two islands, Mr Gibbons explained: “Key priorities to ensure success will include rebuilding consumer confidence; as well as air and sea connectivity, which is vital as an island destination.’
Outlining some of their plans to achieve this, he added: “Tourism Ireland, together with our tourism industry partners from around the island of Ireland, will participate in a number of significant events in Great Britain, such as World Travel Market 2021, Flavours of Ireland 2021 and Ireland Meets GB.
“These upcoming events will allow our partners to highlight and sell their product to key contacts in Great Britain – encouraging them to feature Ireland in their 2022 holiday and tour programmes.
“We will also roll out our new ‘Green Button’ campaign in Britain, which is a €4.6 million multi-media promotional campaign that will be seen by millions of people across Britain.
“It aims to generate awareness of the island of Ireland and drive bookings for short breaks and holidays in Ireland, between now and the end of 2021. Our key message is that we cannot wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome back visitors from Great Britain.”