TWO recent surveys, of consumers and tourism businesses, conducted by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) show that Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 has created a lasting impact in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
And it has also enhanced perceptions of the tourism potential of Northern Ireland.
Among those aware of the year-long City of Culture programme, over 80% in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland believed it would improve Northern Ireland’s reputation as a destination for tourists, with a similar majority recognising that it would also improve our reputation as a place that can hold major events.
Moreover, the survey found that the City of Culture impact has gone beyond tourism, and has helped to create a legacy of an improved image and changed perceptions, conveying the message that Northern Ireland is confidently moving on.
NITB also found that the tourism industry shares the view that the 2013 UK City of Culture has delivered a significant positive impact, benefitting both the city and wider Northern Ireland society, with anticipation of a long term positive impact for individual tourism businesses.
NITB Chief Executive Alan Clarke said; “Our survey findings to date are highly encouraging and NITB support for UK City of Culture is still ongoing. We are currently delivering the second phase of a bespoke UK City of Culture marketing plan which is aimed at the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland markets”.
“The campaign will be delivered through TV, radio, outdoor, press and online advertising. Ten second TV edits have been developed to promote each of the key events – including Turner and the upcoming Lumiere”.
“In addition, a bespoke UK City of Culture direct mail piece was delivered to homes in Greater Belfast and Dublin postcodes. A fully integrated partnership with Cool FM and Downtown has seen live broadcasts from key events in the city supported by Facebook, and online activity and blogs written by popular DJ personalities”.
“The campaign creative has been very retail led with strong communication of great value offers from hotels in the city. Anecdotal feedback from the tourism industry in Derry has reported excellent uptake in these offers and the bespoke campaign will run until mid December”.
Culture Company 2013 Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said:
“It’s wonderful to see that the UK City of Culture programme has challenged old perceptions of Derry-Londonderry and the wider region. This year has allowed us to celebrate and create a new discourse through arts and culture, it has represented Derry as a culturally vibrant, creative and welcoming place. NITB has played a massive part in telling that story to a wider audience. The positive change in confidence and ambition, how we see ourselves and how others see us, these are important legacies of the City of Culture project.”
Derry City Mayor Cllr Martin Reilly said: “This survey demonstrates what we know about the success of our year as UK City of Culture and how we have successfully put Derry~Londonderry on the international map by enhancing the perceptions of our tourism potential. It demonstrates how successful partnership working has delivered a significant positive impact not only for the city but the wider North West region. Derry City Council will use the findings as part of its legacy plan to ensure that the positive impacts are felt for future generations and continued tourism growth.”
In addition to a UK City of Culture dedicated marketing campaign, an overseas media visits programme and industry development support, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board funded five of the key City of Culture events; the Return of Colmcille; the Fleadh Cheoil, the Walled City Tattoo, Lumiere and the Turner Prize.
NITB is in the process of completing full evaluations of these five events which will measure impacts such as perception, civic pride and return on investment. Reports will be available in due course.
For the full results of NITB’s Leisure Consumer Barometer and Tourism Industry Barometer click on http://www.nitb.com/ResearchIntelligence/TourismFactsandFigures/TourismPerformanceStatistics/ImpactofEvents.aspx