As featured in the Digital Tourism Think Tank, Tourism Ireland places a very high emphasis on their marketing, and notably online marketing, activities. The tourist board’s central marketing campaign recently has been ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’, a series of promotional activities encouraging the celebration of different communities across the country, particularly urging all those with Irish roots to come to their homeland for these gatherings.
As reported by Skift, The Gathering has reinvigorated tourism in the country, with data from the first quarter of 2013 showing a 7.4% rise in the number of visitors and specifically a 17% rise in North American visitors. Considering that around half of the approximately 70 million people with Irish heritage that live outside of the country are based in the U.S.A and Canada, the notable rise in tourism from the region makes sense, given that they are the key targets of the advertising.
As stated by Eamon McKeon, chief executive of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), “it has absolutely hit the spot and differentiates [Ireland] from other European destinations. The Gathering was definitely a conduit that helped grow air capacity and is helping consumers make the decision: ‘Yeah, let’s do Ireland’.” (Skift)
The message to other destinations and tourism organisations on the back of Tourism Ireland’s success with The Gathering thus far is therefore to identify the differentiating factors that can pull in visitors to their destination alone and to centre communications around these themes. It will be interesting to keep track of The Gathering’s effect on tourism in the country as 2013 continues.
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