Action Packed Promotional Programme for Northern Ireland
Targets Summer Growth
2010 has been a difficult year for tourism and tourism businesses in Northern Ireland and across the island. The affects of lingering economic uncertainty in markets compounded by the Ash plume in April and May caused many people to reconsider their travel plans.
However, it is important to remember that over 50% of holidaymakers arrive on the island between July and December. And, right now, Tourism Ireland is out in major markets fighting for business, capitalising on the later-than-ever booking trend, telling consumers that there’s never been a better time to visit Northern Ireland. The focus is on the excellent value available from the industry here and on the wonderful things to do and see.
Below are some highlights from our action-packed promotional programme for Northern Ireland so far this year. We have an exciting programme lined up for the autumn including a major Titanic and Northern Ireland Showcase in New York, a new Belfast City of Music campaign in Great Britain and many other promotions across key markets.
• Major Northern Ireland Showcase in New York this autumn –
‘Experience Northern Ireland: Titanic and More’ will take place at Grand Central Terminal this September, in conjunction with National Museums Northern Ireland, the NITB and BVCB, to showcase the very best of what Northern Ireland has to offer visitors and build awareness in advance of the Titanic centenary in 2012. More than 50 industry partners and top chefs, musicians and guides will also participate to make this event a real flavour of Northern Ireland.
Tourism Ireland is also developing a dedicated Titanic website to profile Northern Ireland and its shipbuilding heritage. Central to this will be a series of 24 short films which we are commissioning for online viral campaigns overseas and for popular social networking sites.
• Over £10.5 million in positive publicity overseas – our busy programme of familiarisation visits for influential overseas media has generated positive publicity for Northern Ireland overseas worth more than £10.5 million from 700 articles and broadcasts in the first half of 2010.
- Up to 5 million TV viewers across the US will see Lough Erne Golf Resort on CBS in spring 2011 as part of a thirty-minute programme preview on the Solheim Cup.
- GMTV Barbeques With a View programme with celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott cooked up a sizzling barbeque at Whitepark Bay recently, using a variety of local produce including Bushmills Whiskey and Causeway Cheeses.
- 800,000 Swedish TV viewers will see a popular reality TV show ‘Single Mum Seeking’ which was filmed recently in Newcastle, Bangor and Belfast and will highlight what families can enjoy in Northern Ireland.
- A special Northern Ireland episode of the popular Canadian TV show ‘The Travel Guy’ will be seen by an estimated 80 million households around the world on The Travel Channel.
- 48 influential golf writers from GB, Australia, India, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa visited Northern Ireland for the Tourism Ireland Media Masters tournament at Royal Portrush and also played Ardglass and Lough Erne.
- 15 top motorsport and travel media from GB, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands,
the US, France and Germany attended the North West 200. Thanks to NITB and Causeway Coast & Glens for their assistance on the ground.
• Congratulations Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture – Congratulations to all concerned in the successful Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 bid. The accolade provides even greater opportunities to promote the city around the world. Tourism Ireland was delighted to work with key stakeholders to support the bid. In May, a co-operative campaign with Ryanair in Great Britain, highlighted the great cultural experience on offer in the city in online and press advertising in top newspapers like The Guardian and The Independent and a range of regional titles like the Birmingham Mail, Manchester Evening News, Sunday Herald and Paisley Daily Express. The city also featured heavily in our overseas publicity programme.
• Blooming Success for Northern Ireland Gardens – Northern Ireland’s wonderful gardens have been promoted this summer, in association with Jet2, at garden festivals in Gateshead, Edinburgh and Southport. Broadcaster and garden expert Maurice Parkinson joined Tourism Ireland to promote at the first of these events in Harrogate which drew a crowd of 70,000. Advertising and promotions in local media helped spread the good news.
Earlier in the year, garden experts including Trevor Edwards (Plantsman Garden Tours) and Phil Rollinson (Mount Stewart) joined Tourism Ireland and Northern Ireland tourism partners at the Philadelphia Flower Show (with about 265,000 visitors) and at Canada Blooms in Toronto.
• Glorious Gloria talks us up – Northern Ireland’s own Gloria Hunniford has been the voice of our ‘Silver Surfer Summer Savings’ initiative in Great Britain this year, targeting the two million ‘Sightseers and Culture Seekers’ there who are aged 66 and over. 130 Northern Ireland tourism industry partners participated in this value promotion, representing a wide range of accommodation, visitor attractions, golf, eating out and evening entertainment.
• Showing how easy it is to get here – Co-operative marketing campaigns with major airlines and ferry companies have promoted the great value fares available to Northern Ireland this year. For example, in Great Britain Tourism Ireland has worked with bmibaby, Aer Lingus and Ryanair and with P&O Irish Sea and Norfolk Line to spread the value fares message.
• Northern Ireland is ‘Hip’ Down Under – Over 100,000 potential holidaymakers in Australia and New Zealand received details of Northern Ireland as a fresh and exciting holiday destination in June, as part of a novel ‘Discover the Northern Gems’ postcard competition in conjunction with CIE Tours International.
• Teeing Up Our Golf Overseas – new ‘Value Golf’ campaigns in Great Britain and all major markets, are promoting a range of courses across Northern Ireland including Royal Portrush and Portstewart. Northern Ireland golf also featured prominently in Tourism Ireland’s US golf campaign on Golf Channel TV; Golfchannel.com, in online direct marketing activity to selected golf enthusiasts and in an expanded programme of Press and Publicity.
• Locals Showcase ‘Hidden Gems’ – a new series of online ‘travelogues’ featuring real Northern Ireland characters who introduce visitors to their favourite ‘hidden gems’ and places to visit is live on Tourism Ireland’s suite of 41 websites across 23 markets. The Causeway Coast, Tyrone and Belfast feature in the short films which were also promoted on Yahoo! where they were viewed by over 500,000 people around the world. The new films complement 4 shot last year covering Fermanagh, The Mournes, Londonderry and Belfast which were also very widely viewed. Click here to view the travelogues.
• Warming up for the World Police and Fire Games – It is estimated that Belfast could welcome as many as 25,000 delegates from all over the world for the ten-day World Police and Fire Games in 2013. Tourism Ireland is highlighting Belfast as the host city for the 2013 event at the 2010 Games in New York this summer.
• More Industry partners row in – 39 Northern Ireland industry partners have joined forces with Tourism Ireland overseas already this year in the battle to restore tourism to growth – more than ever before. Northern Ireland was represented at top promotions and fairs in Europe at ITB Berlin, at BIT Milan, at holiday fairs in France (in Rennes, Nantes, Lyon and Paris), in the Netherlands, at the Evian and Scandinavian Masters Golf events; and in North America at the PGA Golf Show in Orlando, the Toronto Star Golf & Travel Show, and in sales blitzes in major US cities. Northern Ireland industry partners also took part in the biggest consumer promotions programme ever mounted in Great Britain.
Back home, over 100 industry partners from around Northern Ireland also attended seminars in Belfast, organised by Tourism Ireland this spring, on growing business from Great Britain and North America.
• Showcasing Northern Ireland for overseas Travel Trade – 60 top tour operators from GB, the US, France, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland were flown in by Tourism Ireland to participate in the ‘Meet the Buyer’ workshop this spring.
- Over 100 influential German tour operators and travel agents enjoyed a fact-finding visit around Belfast.
- Leading US tour operator, Tauck Tours, has included Lough Erne Resort in its programme for the first time this year with up to 10 groups booked.
• More Northern Ireland exposure in Germany – Tourism Ireland is working with top tour operators in Germany – the world’s largest outbound travel market – to get more Northern Ireland into their programmes, on and offline. For example, 15,000 customers of leading tour operator DERTOUR received a booklet of great value offers in Northern Ireland while a complementary initiative targeted DERTOUR’s extensive travel agent network. Germans travelling abroad still book their holidays through retail travel agents.
• Targeting Ulster Scots – US citizens with Ulster Scots ancestry are the focus of our three-year strategy, to encourage them to explore their rich heritage.
- Northern Ireland advertising has run in key newspapers and periodicals
- Direct marketing has targeted those with Ulster Scots surnames
- US based tour operators and group leaders have been encouraged to include Ulster Scots places of interest on their itineraries
- Strong Northern Ireland promotions have been mounted at the ancestral home of President Andrew Jackson to mark his anniversary and, later in the year, at the Stone Mountain Highland Festival
- A two-hour Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival showcase was recorded for radio by The Music Row Show and broadcast across the US on the internet
- Tourism Ireland supported the annual Belfast-Nashville Songwriters Celebration this year which also saw the launch of two books aimed at those of Ulster Scots origins.
• Motor Sports – We were delighted to bring US rider and former Supersport and Superstock champion, Jimmy Moore, to Northern Ireland for the first time ever to attend the North West 200. We also facilitated coverage of the event on motorcycle.com (1 million unique visits per month) and Motorcycle USA magazine (circulation 140,000).
- We have also worked with specialist travel partners overseas to attract participants and spectators for the Ulster Rally and to secure coverage on top motorsports channels in Europe and beyond.
- The Ulster Grand Prix is also the focus of a publicity campaign to secure coverage overseas and we have staged a number of co-operative promotions with specialist travel companies for the British Superbike Championships and at rally events in Great Britain.
• Music and Culture - Leading Northern Ireland festivals took part in the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow this year. Representatives from Armagh’s William Kennedy Piping Festival and Belfast’s Féile an Phobail joined Tourism Ireland to showcase the music and culture of Northern Ireland.
- Celebrated pianist, Barry Douglas, has assisted Tourism Ireland this summer in promoting his Northern Ireland overseas. He undertook a series of radio interviews about Northern Ireland in Paris and London following concerts there by his Camerata Ireland orchestra.
- Pipe bands in major markets have received copies of a DVD of pipe band events recorded here last summer, in advance of the European Pipe Band Championships which took place at Stormont at the end of July and the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow this month.
- Three major Northern Ireland festivals featured in a special promotion with lastminute.com in the GB market this spring – the North West 200, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and the Belfast Taste and Music Festival.
- Northern Ireland food and artisan producers feature widely in Tourism Ireland promotions around the world. For example, this spring celebrity chef Noel McMeel, of Lough Erne Resort, was also on hand to share some of his culinary secrets with the crowds attending the Philadelphia Flower Show.
• Autumn push still to come – these are just some of the highlights of our promotional programme for Northern Ireland overseas, to date this year, and there is still a huge push to come for the Autumn. The highlights will undoubtedly include the ‘Experience Northern Ireland, Titanic and More Showcase' in New York and the Belfast City of Music campaign in Great Britain.
If you’d like to join with us to promote your business overseas, click here to find out about the great promotional opportunities available in the months ahead.