Tourism Ireland today launched an extensive promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world. PIC SHOWS: Claire Brosnan, Tourism Ireland with TV and radio presenter Aled Jones during filming for Tourism Ireland in Commercial Court, Belfast Pix – Stephen Hamilton/ PressEye.

TOURISM Ireland today launched an extensive promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the world.

The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of our annual overseas tourism business. As part of the campaign, TV and radio presenter Aled Jones filmed a new online video in Belfast – for a promotion in GB which will reach about 7.5 million potential holidaymakers.

Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign will highlight the many festivals and events taking place in Northern Ireland this autumn and winter – from the Belfast International Arts Festival to Culture Night, the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Londonderry, Belfast Comedy Festival and Cinemagic Belfast.

It will incorporate a major focus on city breaks, as well as on attracting visitors to more rural areas over the coming months, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Belfast and with other tourism partners to maximise the opportunities.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The latest NISRA figures confirm that overseas visitors to Northern Ireland increased by +8% in the first quarter of 2017 over the same three-month period last year.

“And, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general for 2017 from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners here at home (including hoteliers and visitors attractions), indicates that growth from overseas has continued into the high summer season. 

“Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for.

“Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening here.” 

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland’s publicity drive continues this autumn – targeting print, broadcast and online media around the world, with lots of positive stories about Northern Ireland.

“A busy programme with our key travel partners will highlight attractive packages and ease of access to Northern Ireland, including an extensive campaign with Norwegian in the US.

“We will also promote Northern Ireland through our sales missions to the Middle East, India, Australia and New Zealand.”

Aled Jones outside Willie Jack’s famous Duke of York pub in Belfast city centre

Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign is being rolled out in Great Britain, North America, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging tourism markets.

Highlights of the campaign include:

  • A campaign in GB with TV and radio presenter Aled Jones, on Classic FM and Smooth Radio, which will reach more than 7.5 million ‘culturally curious’ travellers;
  • A separate campaign in GB with Vevo, a leading music and entertainment platform, featuring two well-known music acts, to highlight Belfast and Dublin for great city breaks to up to 10 million ‘social energisers’;
  • An eye-catching Northern Ireland window installation in the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue flagship stores in New York and Beverly Hills;
  • Celebrity chef Rachel Allen will showcase the culinary delights of Northern Ireland on Channel 4 this autumn, in a programme titled Rachel Allen: A Cook’s Adventure;
  • International food and lifestyle journalists arrive in Fermanagh on 20 September, to take part in a “Food, Galor-ious Food” familiarisation visit;
  • ‘Jump into Ireland’ travel trade and media blitz in San Diego, San Francisco and Houston;
  • Sales mission to the Middle East (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and India (Mumbai and Delhi);
  • ‘Flavours of Ireland’ workshop, targeting long-haul markets through influential UK inbound tour operators;
  • An extensive campaign with Norwegian, to promote the Belfast flights from New York (Stewart International Airport) and Providence (Rhode Island), will include a four-page ‘wrap’ on Metro newspapers, email marketing, as well as full-page ads and articles about Belfast and Northern Ireland in Metro newspapers;
  • Other co-operative promotions with TripAdvisor, Expedia, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, KLM and Stena Line, as well as long-haul airlines like Qatar Airlines;
  • A new guide to Belfast, called Belfast L’Essentiel, will be launched on the Tourism Ireland stand at IFTM (International French Travel Market), the largest travel trade exhibition in France;
  • Tourism Ireland will once again have a presence at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, in October – targeting the Scots-Irish and Ulster Scots market and helping to ensure Northern Ireland is high on the vacation ‘wish-list’ of Americans for 2018; and
  • World Travel Market takes place again in London, the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar.
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