Vigorous Promotion for Northern Ireland Overseas

As we approach the end of the difficult tourism year that 2009 has proven to be, I wanted to share with you some of the hightlights of the promotional programme Tourism Ireland has operated for Northern Ireland during the year.  Our aim has been to promote the huge variety of things to see and do here, with a particular focus on the NITB’s Signature Projects and winning themes.

We have centred much of our promotional activity around direct access gateways to Northern Ireland.  And, we have worked closely with air and sea carriers, and other industry partners, to deliver compelling messages about how easy it is to get here, the good value fares and packages available right now, and the good value offers provided to us by our Northern Ireland tourism partners.

Featured below are just some of the highlights of our Northern Ireland promotions this year.  We also have ambitious plans to return to growth in 2010 and we will unveil them to industry leaders later this week at the newly redeveloped Ulster Museum in Belfast. 

Log on to www.tourismireland.com/industryopportunities to learn more about working with us to promote your business overseas in 2010.


Niall Gibbons
Chief Executive

Some highlights from Tourism Ireland's Promotional Programme:
  • Northern Ireland in £40M advertising campaign – Northern Ireland features prominently in Tourism Ireland’s £40M advertising campaign in Great Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Nordics, the Netherlands, Australia and Asia.  A dedicated Northern Ireland TV ad has been developed as well as four print ads that feature Northern Ireland’s top tourism icons and run in newspapers, magazines and online.
  • 200,000 see “Go” films on Northern Ireland – Earlier this year, we launched a call for local people to become tourism ambassadors for their area who were then filmed talking passionately about why tourists should visit Belfast, Londonderry, the Mournes and Fermanagh.  So far, nearly 200,000 people have viewed the Northern Ireland shorts on Yahoo.com and on the Tourism Ireland website.  The films were also distributed through top national newspapers in Britain and were emailed to consumers in France and Italy with special Northern Ireland offers.  Just last week, the films won a coveted award at the Golden Spider Internet Awards.
  • £1.2M Autumn/Winter campaign in Great Britain – Working with industry partners such as Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Stena, among others, we have invested an additional £1.2 million in Britain over the past couple of months to promote short break business by highlighting festivals, culture, food and our people.  Earlier, Northern Ireland had featured prominently in Tourism Ireland £14 million global autumn campaign.

  • Focus on Scotland – Tourism Ireland’s year-long marketing campaign for Northern Ireland in Scotland involved high-profile promotions including Celtic Connections, St Patrick’s Day and the Scottish Open Golf.  An extensive publicity programme also ran including the three-week “Great Stories, Interesting People” promotion on Radio Clyde which featured the Beech Hill Country House Hotel, the Old Inn and Ardtara Country House.
  • Overseas Publicity worth £68M – By the end of 2009, more than 362 influential travel media will have visited Northern Ireland – in turn generating overseas publicity worth more than £68M in advertising terms.  The media visitors included TV and film crews and journalists from newspapers, lifestyle magazines and online publications who came to report on the very best of what Northern Ireland has to offer.  The programme of press trips is co-hosted jointly with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board who provide on-the-ground arrangements.
  • Leading Travel Writers – The prestigious Travel Classics media conference visited Belfast and Northern Ireland in May – bringing 39 top US travel writers and 15 commissioning editors from influential publications like Conde Nast, National Geographic, Travel & Leisure and many others to experience our product at first hand.  Separately, Northern Ireland was voted “Destination of the Year” by the Finnish Guild of Travel Writers.
  • "Hello" at Crom – Northern Ireland celebrity Gloria Hunniford recently visited Crom Castle for a feature in Hello magazine – a great story with great pictures. 

  • 1.5M Dutch see Northern Ireland – More than 1.5 million Dutch followed the “Who’s the Mole” reality TV programme which was filmed here in Northern Ireland before the summer.
  • 100 top overseas tour operators were recruited by Tourism Ireland for NITB's “Meet the Buyer” workshop in Belfast earlier this year.  The operators also got to sample the wider tourism product across Northern Ireland.  A dedicated Coach Operators’ workshop in Belfast this September provided further valuable opportunities to sell direct to top trade contacts. 
  • Belfast? Yes! – Tourism Ireland campaigns are currently under way in Germany, France and the Netherlands promoting Belfast as the perfect place for a great value pre-Christmas break, taking in some culture and shopping and capitalising on the favourable sterling rates.

  • Flying High: Autumn campaigns with carriers – Co-operative campaigns between Tourism Ireland and our leading air carriers have promoted Northern Ireland in Great Britain this autumn.  A newspaper advertising campaign with flybe highlighted the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens and was also supported by online ads and a dedicated eZine to flybe customers promoting special fares to Belfast.  During October, we delivered a three-week campaign, also involving BMI and Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau on websites such as The Guardian online and AOL.  And right now a promotion with easyjet is highlighting great things to do and a range of value offers from the Northern Ireland industry.
  • Car touring – Earlier this year, we ran car touring campaigns promoting Northern Ireland in Scotland with partners Stena Line and P&O Irish Sea Ferries. 

  • Targeting the Ulster-Scots in the US – “Come to Northern Ireland, the home of your ancestors”, that’s Tourism Ireland’s invitation as part of an extensive three-year marketing campaign aimed at the Ulster Scots segment in the US.  We have targeted almost one million Americans of Ulster Scots origin through direct marketing and advertising.  Tourism Ireland was also pleased to partner with the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Ulster-Scots Agency and the Ulster Scots Society to arrange an increased presence at the recent Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta.   Writers Billy Kennedy, Richard MacMaster and Alister McReynolds also participated and over the two days of the games, more than 15,000 people attended.
  • World Police & Fire Games in Vancouver – Belfast will welcome the World Police & Fire Games in 2013.  This year’s Games took place in Canada where Tourism Ireland, with the help of Dame Mary Peters, took the opportunity to put the spotlight on Belfast and Northern Ireland for important influencers like the Canadian media and travel trade.  The Games are highly sought-after and it is anticipated that 25,000 delegates from all over the world will attend the Belfast event.
  • GB viewers see Northern Ireland on Sky Sports – Tourism Ireland has been working with Sport NI and NITB to produce a series of monthly programmes featuring well-known sports personalities relaxing and training in scenic locations throughout Northern Ireland.  Each edition of “Sporting Ireland” has been aired on Sky Sports three times a month, promoting Northern Ireland for holidays and as a top location for sporting events.  October’s show featured ‘The Duel on the Lough’ with golfers Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington at Lough Erne, water-ski champion Janet Grey training in Co Down and Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion driver Kris Meeke taking a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route.

  • Northern Ireland Golf – New golf promotional programmes in GB, US and the Nordic markets highlighted both the best of our traditional courses and some of our newer developments.
  • Focus on NI Food – Nine partners from around Northern Ireland joined Tourism Ireland at the recent BBC Good Food Show, to spread the good news about Northern Ireland as a premier holiday destination with an outstanding reputation of quality, locally produced food.  Flavour of Tyrone, Taste of Ulster, Flavour Academy Cookery School as well as Northern Ireland hotels, a bakery, tea-maker and ferry companies attended the show, which is now established as the biggest consumer promotion in Glasgow.  
  • Belfast Value Offers to 4.6M GB consumers - Over 4.6 million GB consumers received offers promoting Belfast as a great value city break this autumn.  A dedicated Belfast insert featuring partner offers was distributed in top national newspapers, including the Mail on Sunday, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, The Herald, Scotland on Sunday and The Sunday Times.  Earlier in the year, Northern Ireland has featured in two 16-page supplements distributed with 1.3 million copies of the Daily Telegraph and The Observer newspapers.

Tourism Ireland believes that we can continue to increase interest in visiting Northern Ireland by highlighting the diversity and character of things to see and do on a holiday here.  By supporting this message with strong communication of the great value available, we aim to deliver tangible business results this winter and into 2010.

Log on to www.tourismireland.com/industryopportunities to learn more about working with us to promote your business overseas.

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