Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 06 July, 2006
Written Answers. - Tourism Promotion.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he is satisfied that sufficient steps have been taken to market this country as a tourist destination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27614/06]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: Responsibility for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a tourism destination rests with Tourism Ireland Limited. Tourism Ireland is a North-South body, established under the Good Friday Agreement. It is jointly funded by the Irish and British Exchequers — to the sum of €64m this year. Significant additional resources were secured for Tourism Ireland in 2005 and again this year, to improve the effectiveness of its marketing programmes overseas. In particular, these resources enabled the company to undertake extensive research, in consultation with the trade and industry, aimed at reviewing the effec tiveness of the destination brand — Tourism Brand Ireland — the suite of communication and marketing materials which underpin its destination campaigns in overseas markets. In December 2005, I launched a new, three-year, €50m global destination campaign for Tourism Ireland which reflects Ireland’s core strengths. It also responds to a clearly identified need among potential visitors for more information about what a holiday in Ireland might involve. This campaign has been rolled out in key markets and the initial feedback has been positive. In terms of the overall performance of the sector, 2005 figures show overseas visitor numbers increased by 6% to almost 7 million and a significant rise in revenue — up almost 8% to €3.455 billion, excluding carrier receipts. On both counts, the 2005 targets were exceeded. Against a backdrop of intense global competition and constantly evolving consumer preferences, these results represent a good performance by the sector and underline the significant return which Tourism Ireland achieves from its investment in overseas marketing.
The targets set for 2006 are to grow overall visitor numbers by 4.9% and revenue by 6.7%. The latest overseas visitor data from the CSO cover the first four months of 2006. This shows that the number of overseas visitors to Ireland increased by 12.7% in the year to April — well ahead of target. This strong level of growth was spread across the main markets, with Britain up 12%, Europe up over 20%, North America up almost 2% with “Other” markets up over 3%. While the experience of various international shocks in recent years teaches us to be prudent in our expectations and the most recent data only relate to the early part of the season, I note that the trade, in general, is looking forward to the remainder of the year with a stronger sense of optimism than for some years past.
Questions Nos. 342 and 343 answered with Question No. 9.
Question No. 344 answered with Question No. 336.
Dáil Éireann 623 Written Answers. Tourism Promotion.