Spanish visitors to Ireland have more than quadrupled since 2000 and arrivals grew by a further 13% in 2017 to over 440,000 visitors. Tourism Ireland undertook a Strategic Review of the Spanish market to unlock future growth to Ireland and as part of that review will target 460,000 Spanish visitors, delivering €230 million in revenue per year by 2020.
Click here to download a copy of our Strategy Card.
Click here to download a copy of our Market Profile.
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 2017 with latest figures from the CSO for January to August 2018 showing same levels of visitors versus last year.
Brand tracker results in 2018 confirm that there are very high interest levels in visiting Ireland with 82% of all Spaniards saying they intend to visit the country sometime in the future, and 43% 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, 29% will visit the West, and 22% will visit the South West and South East. 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.
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. In 2018, we also welcomed the new direct ferry service between Santander and Cork with Brittany Ferries from May - November.
We primarily target the Spanish Culturally Curious segment. We 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 loyal social media communities; 300,000 Facebook fans, 44,000 Instagram followers and 33,000 Twitter followers.
Spain offers great potential to win business in Q4 due to the large number of bank holidays in this period. We have seen a huge growth in this period over the last 5 years (+53% since 2013) and it now accounts for 20% of all of our business. New Year’s Eve is also a time when Spaniards 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 Online Travel Agencies Logitravel and Atrápalo, Tour Operators such as Viajes el Corte Inglés 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. €9M in estimated advertising value of positive coverage in leading newspapers and travel magazines.
We have lots of ways you can get included in our activities; social media posts, sponsored competitions, e-zines and offers on the website to name but a few. 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.