Eco tourism, wide open spaces and preserved nature will be one of the main tourist assets in 2021. Countries around the world are already preparing for the post covid tourism and summer season. Country that can expect significant influx of tourists in post covid period is Ireland as it is one of the most eco friendly nations in Europe. We have contacted James Kenny – industry manager of Tourism Ireland to give us insight of their plans for promotion and how they see tourism season of 2021.
Tell us something about how you are promoting tourism of Ireland in current situation, with travel bans and closed borders?
At a time when international visitors cannot travel here, we have paused paid advertising campaigns and promotions. However, we are keeping Ireland front of mind for those consumers who are dreaming about travel. We are doing this by sharing inspirational content from the tourism industry and cultural community in Ireland with our followers overseas through our social media platforms, websites and partners. A recent example is the Global Greening for our national day, St. Patrick’s Day, on the 17th March. On the lead up to St Patrick’s Day we encouraged our friends around the world to illuminate their iconic buildings in green and share the images on social media – this year over 700 sites in 66 countries joined the initiative. We also encouraged our fans and followers overseas to enjoy St Patrick’s Day safely at home as we brought an evening of entertainment and Irish culture to them from Ireland via a live broadcast, steamed on YouTube into homes around the globe.
Do you have some virtual tour projects, where future tourists can explore Ireland from their chairs?
Throughout the past year we have provided a steady stream of virtual tours and live streamed events for consumers to keep them connected to all the experiences that a holiday on the island of Ireland can offer. We have also kept actively in touch with overseas trade and media, bringing some of our ‘only in Ireland’ experiences to our partners via webinars and virtual tours, with experiences that have included petting the horses in the National Stud, Irish dancing along the Wild Atlantic Way, learning how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness from the experts in Dublin and being shown around some of the most stunning hotels and manors in the world by their owners themselves.
What is your future plan of tourism promotion, and how you think that this situation will change tourism of Ireland?
Our research suggest that holidaying in a place like Ireland is exactly what a lot of people will want to do as soon as they can travel again – the wide open landscapes in Ireland, unspoiled coastline coupled with the highest level of safety and the warmest welcome in the world. We also see that there will be a shift towards smaller group sizes, more self-catering accommodation, flexible hotel policies and bespoke offers, and our industry are extremely well prepared to meet those demands.
Which destinations in Ireland you can recommend to future tourists when travel ban is over?
We are delighted to recommend the Wild Atlantic Way, where 2,500km of spectacular coastline with white sands and glittering waves awaits you, or slow things down on our wonderful waterways and explore magical forest treks and trails in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. In Northern Ireland you’ll be greeted with a Giant Spirit, and enjoy everything from World Heritage sites, Game of Thrones locations and the home of Titanic. There are so many things to do in Dublin, from Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, the coastline and mountains and everything in between, or you can choose to wander through 5,000 years of history and culture in Ireland’s Ancient East. In short, we have something for everyone on the Emerald Isle!
Do you have some figures and statistics about change of the tourism numbers now comparing to 2019?
As with most holiday destinations around the world, there has been a huge drop off in visitor numbers as it has not been possible to welcome them during the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the island or Ireland, when the time is right to do so.