'Ambitious' tourism marketing plans launched

Tourism Ireland has set itself a 7% growth rate target for visitors to Northern Ireland as part of its marketing plans for 2003.

With responsibility for promoting the island of Ireland on the world stage, Tourism Ireland has set out ambitious plans for 2003, aiming to increase all-island visitor numbers by 5% on this year to over 7.5 million. Such growth would exceed the World Trade Organisation's forecast of an annual travel growth rate of 4.1% for the world and 3% for Europe. Should Tourism Ireland's target by met then it is hoped that the associated growth in visitors spend is expected to increase by 10%.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board also presented details of strategy and plans for 2003 for domestic tourism, product and niche marketing for the province.

For 2003, Tourism Ireland has introduced a number of key innovations in its overseas marketing strategy including:
  • a new approach to determining Ireland’s best business prospects
  • a new consumer decision-making model which will enable Tourism Ireland to focus its resources to maximise return on investment
  • a review of strategy in the German market resulting in the development of new consumer segments that best match Ireland’s holiday offering
  • the roll out of the second phase of Tourism Board Ireland.
Following a detailed analysis of the island’s best prospects, Tourism Ireland will focus the bulk of its marketing resources and funds on eight key markets – Great Britain, North America, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Canada.

Cutting edge e-marketing initiatives and internet campaigns will feature in Tourism Ireland’s overseas marketing campaigns next year, in addition to the traditional marketing mix.

The organisation recently launched a new internet advertising campaign, the first of its type in Ireland and a first for the tourism industry worldwide.

Tourism Ireland’s Chief Executive, Paul O’Toole, said: “In this highly competitive global environment, value for money is a vital factor in our future success, the industry recognises that and, I believe, is committed to ensuring that we are competitively priced and provide top quality product and service."

Focussing on the island, Alan Clarke, NITB, outlined the challenges presented in changing the perception of Northern Ireland in the home holiday and southern markets. He highlighted the marketing activities to be undertaken in 2003 and identified the opportunities for industry participation.


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