Tourism Ireland looking ahead to tempting visitors back after Covid crisis ends

Tourism bosses are already looking at how best to bring back overseas visitors ahead of the lifting of the most restrictive elements of the lockdown.
Tourism Ireland looking ahead to tempting visitors back after Covid crisis ends

Scenery of Killarney National Park, near the town of Killarney, Co Kerry
Scenery of Killarney National Park, near the town of Killarney, Co Kerry

Tourism bosses are already looking at how best to bring back overseas visitors ahead of the lifting of the most restrictive elements of the lockdown.

Tourism Ireland has tendered for a Covid-19 research programme, looking for data and indications as to when to begin marketing Ireland as a tourist destination and how best to attract visitors.

According to the tender document: "Covid-19 has delivered an immediate and full stop to international tourism right across the world and the island of Ireland is no exception. Since the middle of March 2020 we have had virtually no inbound visitors, most flights have been cancelled and our hotels and attractions are closed."

It said the tourism industry across Ireland is "happy to play its part" in limiting the spread of the virus but added: "Closures and cancellations have however, come at a heavy price and tourism businesses across the island of Ireland need inbound tourism to recover as quickly and effectively as possible.

As soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so, Tourism Ireland, working alongside our partners and stakeholders, need to encourage tourists back to our shores.

"The recovery needs to be carefully monitored and will depend on a large number of factors, not least how quickly access, both air and sea, returns to the island of Ireland, the industry and product available for tourists to enjoy and importantly the consumer mindset and how this may have changed during and after the Covid-19 health emergency and subsequent economic turmoil."

The winning research partner would look at potential source markets and then analyse when promotion of the island of Ireland should begin and where that marketing should be targeted, among other considerations.

Tourism Ireland said it has already commissioned an omnibus tracking study to assess the impact of Covid-19 and the appetite of potential tourists to come here.

A spokesperson said: "In the face of the fundamental changes facing our industry, we need a comprehensive understanding of the changed consumer and the new marketplace.

"Tourism Ireland has tendered for and will commission an extensive Covid-19 programme of research in our major markets.

"Looking forward to when international tourism into Ireland is back, this will help us to identify when consumers are ready to consider holidaying again and which of our markets offer us the best short-term prospects.

Scenes at Dublin Airport during the Covid 19 Pandemic Picture: Collins Photos
Scenes at Dublin Airport during the Covid 19 Pandemic Picture: Collins Photos

"Tourism Ireland will then explore in-depth which segments and demographics are most likely to travel at that time, which products and experiences will most appeal to them and what messaging will most strongly convince them to consider holidaying on the island of Ireland.

The insights we gain will ensure that our future promotional plan is as tightly targeted and as powerfully motivational as it possibly can be, in order to drive a strong recovery, as quickly as it is possible to realise it.

The plan also involves the use of online surveys and industry consultation with agencies on both sides of the border.

Work could begin as early as next month.

Tourism Ireland has already launched a new campaign aimed at enticing future visitors here once it is safe to do so, complete with the hashtag #FillYourHeartWithIreland.

Supporting video clips include behind-the-scenes footage filmed for the acclaimed TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People.

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