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If you’re going to restart your tourism industry, probably the best place to start is by inviting people to come for a visit.
And – at the risk of over-simplifying things – that’s pretty much what Tourism Ireland is doing to restart its international tourism business now that the world is in a place where more people from more countries can actually travel internationally.
For the Canadian travel trade, Tourism Ireland rolled out the green carpet during an intimate event at a local Irish pub in Toronto’s Liberty Village.
Tourism Ireland’s executive vice-president, USA & Canada, Alison Metcalfe and manager Canada, Sandra Moffatt were on hand to welcome about 25 of its tour operator and airline partners and talk to them about Ireland’s plans for recovery.
Key to the destination’s restart is its newly launched media campaign, Press the Green Button, which is all about the future of travel and inspiring travel’s recovery.
As for the message to the partners attending the Toronto event, Metcalfe said that along with talking about the new campaign, “we’ll also be talking about the plans for next year, and where we see sort of some of the business recovery coming from.”
Already, Metcalfe said that Tourism Ireland has been encouraged by the availability of lift out of Canada.
“Access is obviously important to any kind of business recovery, so we’re quite encouraged,” Metcalfe said, continuing: “We have the new WestJet service to add to the return of the services offered by Air Canada, Aer Lingus and Air Transat … so we have plenty of seats and, obviously, our job is to work in partnership with the industry to create demand and as that demand comes back we hope that not only the air access comes back but we’ll help fill those seats and drive the recovery next spring.”
As for its recovery plan, Metcalfe explained that it will be rolled out in three stages – Restart, Rebuild and Redesign – “and we’re very much in the Restart phase where it’s about investing in those markets that can deliver short-term, volume business – the focus is on volume, really.”
Metcalfe continued: “As we shift towards Rebuilding – which, potentially, will be toward the end of next year  and into 2023 – we’ll increase our focus on driving revenue and looking at that, sort of, long term, sustainable growth.”
Said Tourism Ireland’s executive vice-president, USA & Canada: “So, how are we going to do that? Well, we’ve launched a new campaign which is inviting people to Press the Green Button. It’s a very simple idea which seems to be resonating well with Canadians. Green is synonymous with Ireland and green is synonymous with Go – so the clear message is we’re encouraging people to book that future trip in 2022 to Ireland.”
She added that: “It’s a campaign that’s running with fairly significant investment across digital channels, social channels, but it also contains a partnership component, working with our industry partners who can feature offers and airfares. So, it’s designed to drive bookings and referrals to them and their websites.”
Looking ahead to 2022, Metcalfe said that Tourism Ireland will continue to target the culturally curious traveller, “but we are targeting those people who have a fairly strong travel intent. We’re also looking to target repeat leisure visitors. We know people want to spend time with friends and family in welcoming, familiar destinations and we feel we can make Ireland attractive and exotic for a second trip that would fit the bill very nicely there. The great outdoors, golf, those are both very resilient segments and we see more opportunities to grow our business there, particularly, the Great Outdoors segment.”
Metcalfe makes it clear that Ireland has lots of options in this area, observing that “perhaps people have not been fully aware of all of the Great Outdoor activities that are available. I think they know about the hiking trails and biking trails, but, there’s paddle boarding, there’s kayaking; there’s all sorts of other activities and they’re easily accessible and these experiences can be clustered around hotels or their [visitors’] accommodation centre – they don’t have to travel miles to engage in those sorts of things. So, again, there’s something for everybody, if you’re looking at multi-generational groups.”
And Canadian travellers will be able to explore these as the Press the Green Button campaign features dedicated Canadian content.
Sandra Moffatt explained: “There’s a dedicated Ireland.com site and we have a Canadian-specific site, so all the offers that we have [there] are all in Canadian dollars; they direct people right to Canadian packages. So, it’s super simple, they go to www.Ireland.com; [they’ll] see a Green Button on Ireland.com …[they] press the Green Button and all our offers will be there. They’ll be directed right through to the Canadian website. We have airfares there. Aer Lingus launched a campaign with a return flight for $399 return from Toronto to Dublin. So, we really have some inspiring and compelling offers there.”
In this respect, Metcalfe pointed out that those offers will be updated and Tourism Ireland will be encouraging tour operator and airline partners “to refresh their offers so we can keep people coming back to the site.”
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