The UK is Ireland’s largest tourist market, and Tourism Ireland has set its sights on a group it describes as ‘sightseers and culture seekers’. It estimates the group to be ten-million-strong.
The review, which it said was triggered by ‘best-practice policy’, has put four-year incumbent BGB Communications on alert. The agency plans to repitch for the work.
Britain accounts for 60 per cent of all overseas visitors to Ireland. Around five million will travel across the Irish Sea this year.
Tourism Ireland says it plans to target ‘pure holidaymakers’, rather than those visiting friends and family – they spend more and stay longer than the average visitor, paying for accommodation, rather than stopping with relatives.
They are likely to travel in couples or groups, be well educated, live in non-urban areas and aged between 35 and 65. Media targets include mainstream TV and lifestyle magazines.
The selected agency will make use of Irish events – which include the Galway Oyster Festival and the Wexford Opera – to encourage Britons to visit and take part in similar activities.
The agency will report to Tourism Ireland deputy director David Boyce, with a three-year contract kicking off this autumn.
Boyce said: ‘Previously we have used PR to target different types of visitor – luxury-lovers or outdoors-types – but we felt that was fragmenting the message.’