Tourism Ireland (TI) is aiming to boost overseas tourism revenue here by 15 per cent to £658m and drive our visitor numbers to 2.5m by 2022.
This was the headline objective of the agency’s new three-year strategy (2020 – 2022), which was launched in Belfast today (December 6).
Hundreds of guests, including tourism industry leaders from across NI, also heard the agency say that it intended to spread the benefits of tourism more broadly across Northern Ireland on a year-round basis.
In the New Year, Tourism Ireland is set to roll out a new worldwide brand for Northern Ireland under the banner ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’. It also says that it will continue to leverage the legacy of the summer’s Open golf tournament at Royal Portrush.
During the Belfast launch, phase two of TI’s global campaign was also launched. ‘Fill Your Heart With Ireland’ will include a new advert featuring some of the island’s lesser visited attractions including Hillsborough Castle, Rathlin Island and Derry/Londonderry. This will be seen in more than 20 key markets around the world.
TI also said that it would revamp its digital platform during the period of the strategy, including greater use of artificial intelligence.
Estimates quoted by TI put the number of people who have visited NI this year at 2.2m – a two per cent increase on figures for 2018. Revenue generated by those visitors is expected to top £570m, another two per cent hike.
Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, Niall Gibbons, said that the ‘sustainable principles’ on which the new marketing strategy had been built would underpin all of the agency’s activity going forward to ensure that business was sourced in areas outside the cities and traditional tourist ‘honeypot’ locations:
‘By applying these principles and through working with our partners on wider sustainability issues, we are confident that overseas tourism will help communities to prosper while our overseas visitors continue to enjoy a great holiday experience,’ he added.