Two new Tourism Ireland strategies were launched yesterday by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.
The strategies set out and ambitious targets which aims to bring in almost 3.8 million Spanish and Italian visitors between now and 2020 – 825,000 visitors per year from both countries by 2020 – representing growth of +25%.
The Tourism Ireland strategies have been developed in close co-operation with a wide range of industry partners, at home and in Spain and Italy. They have identified the opportunities which will drive accelerated growth from both countries to the island of Ireland over the coming four years.
Research by Tourism Ireland shows that more than 20% of all Spanish visitors to Ireland visit in the off-season or the forth quarter – a real opportunity for Irish tourism operators to win business at a time when there is capacity in accommodation and other tourism facilities.
Furthermore, approximately 98% of Spanish visitors to Ireland are independent travellers, with around 95% booking part of their trip online. Spaniards are also heavy users of social and digital media and are hugely influenced by word of mouth.
CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons says "Spain and Italy have performed extremely well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. We believe that both are markets of considerable potential for Irish tourism over the coming years.
"However, we certainly don’t take the performance for granted; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities to ensure that success continues. I am confident that our new, focused strategies will deliver on the challenging targets we have set for growth in Spanish and Italian visitors, between now and 2020."