2017 was another good year for the French market following a 4th consecutive record year of growth from the market in 2016. Despite the loss of some routes to Shannon, French Trade partners are very positive. The number of French visitors to the island of Ireland exceeded 530K for first time last year.
The island of Ireland continues to benefit from a strong and positive image among French travelers and is ranked high in our annual Brand Tracker survey. In 2016, Ireland ranked 4th overall as a destination the French aspire to visit in the future, just behind strong sunny destinations such as Italy, Spain and Portugal but ahead of Greece. Ireland also attained top position for tourism destination advertising awareness among French consumers, who showed strong recognition of TI’s TV campaign in 2016 testing.
Our main objective for 2018 will be to strengthen this position through increasing brand awareness activities via an effective and powerful media mix, including TV and digital channels.
Concurrently, we will continue to promote active travel planning via co-branded co-operative communications with trade and industry partners, as well as tactical campaigns focusing on off-peak seasonality and regionality objectives.
In terms of access, the island of Ireland remains very well served from nineteen French hub and regional airports and by French, Irish and international airlines, as well as by ferry services running to Cork, Rosslare and Dublin. With the launch of the new Irish Ferries Superferry we look forward to sustain growth to Ireland. Throughout 2018 we will continue to work with all access providers to promote and sustain the current routes and to identify any opportunities for additional route development.
Tourism Ireland France will continue to target the three segments identified as having the strongest potential to deliver on regionality, seasonality and revenue targets with the main focus of our promotional activity targeting the Culturally Curious segment. We will also continue to target Social Energisers – via digital PR and advertising activity and Great Escapers through our TV brand campaigns and new brand partnerships.
Our 2018 messaging will lead with the island of Ireland brand as we continue to build on the success of the regional experiences. This will include a continued focus on the island of Ireland’s coastal drives − the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route− which appeal greatly to French independent car travelers and coach tour travelers. We will also continue to promote the Dublin, a Breath of Fresh Air experience and Ireland’s Ancient East, which offers a wealth of history and heritage experiences to the French visitor.
Off-peak city break campaigns will capitalise on the vibrancy of the island of Ireland’s cities including Dublin and Belfast. Screen Tourism will continue to play a strong role via Star Wars and Game of Thrones campaigns throughout 2018.
On the B2B side we will continue to provide platforms for island of Ireland industry via targeted in-market activities including workshops and networking events focusing on the key Group and Leisure Group sectors in areas with direct access routes.
We will also increase our communication to in-market trade with our monthly e-zine, which targets over 2,300 readers with product and industry related news from Ireland and news of French market campaigns. We will also continue to educate the travel trade with nationwide and regional Travel Agency networks.
If you are interested in knowing more about developing new partnerships in France, our new Business Partnerships Manager Fiona Dunne is your new point of contact:
Tel: +33 1 53 43 12 18.
Please check this website regularly as we open up new marketing opportunities throughout the year.
We look forward to working with you in partnership throughout 2017 and to building on the continued success of the French market for island of Ireland tourism.
Tourism Ireland France
Market contact: Serge Fonseca
Tel: +33 1 53 43 12 16