Marketing blitz to bring back Britain’s visitors to Ireland

£4 million ‘Green Button’ campaign launched at the Embassy to revive travel from UK to Ireland for the last months of 2021

Ireland is looking to people here in Britain – especially Irish people – to jump start its tourism industry back into life.

Tourism Ireland, the all-island body created under the Good Friday Agreement, is to launch its so-called Green Button campaign this month in an attempt to rescue the industry between now and 5 December.

Tourism and Culture Minister Catherine Martin, the Green party deputy leader in Ireland’s Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Green Party coalition, launching the campaign said in London recently that the government in Ireland hopes to have lifted almost all Covid restrictions in Ireland by 22 October.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said his organisation will spend more on attracting visitors from Britain to Ireland in the next few months than it would normally spend in a year.

It will spend at least £4 million on television, social media, sports sponsorship and ‘influencers’ for its nine week ‘Green Button’ campaign.

In 2019 some 4.8 million people from here in Britain visited Ireland, accounting for at least 42 per cent of the total number of visitors to Ireland (11m people).

Visitors from Britain comprise the largest single market, spending at least €1.5 billion in 2019 in the last year before the pandemic and travel restrictions.

In the past, government officials in Ireland have persistently and selectively understated just how many of those visits are by Irish people – and people of Irish descent – living here in Britain.

Mr Gibbons, who has been universally acknowledged for his enthusiasm, diplomacy, and energy for a near impossible task in the past eighteen months, acknowledged that emotional reconnections will be important to them and to the Irish market.

“IIn the past eighteen months we carried out 30,000 interviews. People told us they are keen to get back to travel again.

“Secondly, they’re keen to go to places close to home, they want to go back to places that are familiar; and they’re really keen to visit their friends and family.

“That emotional reconnection is an underlying theme of all the research we have been carrying out.

“So, it is very appropriate that we are here in our largest market to establish our relaunch to declare Ireland open again for international travel.

“We have a mountain to climb in terms of reconnecting Ireland not just to Britain, but to the world, we know the scale of the challenge.

“To put it into context, as an island on the edge of Europe we rely heavily on air access for 90 per cent of our business and sea access for 10 per cent.

“In the summer of 2019 there were 240,000 seats on sale every single week in this market, 1,752 departures every week from 25 airports in Great Britain. There were also 40,000 car spaces on ferries every single week.

“Our Green Button campaign, to be launched in October, is the biggest investment we’ve ever made in this (British) market, we’ll probably spend more money in the next four months than we would in a year normally.

“People sometimes forget Tourism Ireland is a product of the Good Friday Agreement – we promote the island of Ireland.

“In all of the Brexit fog that is out there what sometimes gets lost is that Tourism Ireland is a great example of where compromise and good will can build a better future for all of us. We’re finishing our first 20 years in the marketplace and look forward to many, many more.

“It’s all about encouraging confidence in travel again which has been badly dented – but we’re back, and it feels great.”

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