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Spanish visitors to Ireland quadrupled between 2000 and 2016 and arrivals grew by a further +15% in 2016 to over 395,000 visitors. Tourism Ireland recently undertook a Strategic Review of the Spanish market to unlock future growth to Ireland and as part of that review is targeting growth of a further 34% to 460,000 delivering €220 million in revenue per year by 2020.

Click here to download a copy of our Strategy Card.

Spain is the 5th largest market into Ireland in terms of visitor numbers, and the 6th strongest market in terms of revenue. The Spanish economy is performing well and consumer confidence is high. All of this is having a positive impact on outbound travel, which is increasing year on year as evidenced by the strong performance in 2016 with latest figures from the CSO for January to September 2017 showing a +15% increase, and we look set to break the 400,000 mark for the first time later this year. Ireland also continues to win market share against competitors such as Germany and GB.

There are very high interest levels in visiting Ireland with 83% of all Spaniards saying they intend to visit the country sometime in the future, and 48% saying they intend to travel to Ireland in the next 3 years. Spaniards are important visitors to the island of Ireland staying an average of 6 nights, and while many will visit Dublin, 34% will visit the West, and 19% will visit the South West. 1 in 10 Spaniards visit Northern Ireland, and both interest and active planning levels are on the rise in recent years.

Spaniards love to engage with the locals getting under the skin of a place and experiencing places that will give them an insight into the Irish culture and history. They are particularly motivated by our breath-taking scenery. They are sometimes cautious travellers and do like to remain within their comfort zone and not go too far off the beaten path. It’s also important to note that while there are relatively large numbers of Spaniards visiting Ireland to learn English, it is actually only approximately 7% of the overall visitors to the island of Ireland. The rest is a mix of holidaymakers, VFR and business travellers.

Access from Spain to Ireland is excellent with direct flights to Dublin from Madrid, Barcelona, Santiago, Bilbao, Santander, Seville and Málaga, along with the plenty of routes from Spanish coastal regions. Madrid and Barcelona are our main priority regions providing the majority of Spanish holidaymakers to Ireland; Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Iberia Express and Vueling operate into Dublin from these cities, and EasyJet also operate a Barcelona-Belfast route. There is direct access to Cork from Barcelona with Aer Lingus and from Madrid with Iberia Express.

We primarily target the Spanish Culturally Curious segment. We will do this through a programme of finely-tuned campaigns and activities with a particular focus on digital and social media. We have almost 1.5m visitors to our website on an annual basis, and have built up a loyal and large Facebook fan base with 265,000 fans and nearly 32,000 Twitter followers. We also recently rolled out a Spanish language Instagram account to leverage Spaniard love of visual images, and have quickly built up a loyal following of over 30,000 fans. Our secondary segment is the Spanish Social Energisers who we specifically target with City Break messaging to activate off-season travel in Q4. They have a high tendency to travel during this time due to the large amount of bank holidays in this period (5). We saw growth of +25% in Q4 travel in 2016 and it now accounts for nearly 21% of all of our business. New Year’s Eve is also a time when Spanish people tend to travel so we roll out a specific NY campaign which includes partner offers.

We will continue to build on our successful co-operative campaigns which sees us partner up with Logitravel, Atrapalo, Rumbo, Viajes el Corte Inglés amongst others and all our airline partners, Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Iberia Express. This activity means Ireland is on TV, runs outdoor campaigns, is in print media and also has extensive digital campaigns. All these activities ensure a Brand Ireland presence with a tactical price offer. PR and Media is also a big focus for us with over 60 media contacts being sent to Ireland from Spain every year ensuring approx. €9 million of positive coverage.

We have lots of ways you can get included in our activities; social media posts, sponsored competitions, ezines and offers to name but a few. To find out how to get involved please contact us. You will find plenty of no-cost, and low cost opportunities here but we are also more than happy to tailor make some opportunities depending on your budget and business needs. If you have any questions just drop us a line; we’re here to help.

Tourism Ireland Spain
Market contact: Susie Fitzgibbon
Tel: 0034 915775458