This year, 22 tourism organisations from across the island of Ireland visited ITB Berlin, including Aer Lingus, Irish Ferries, hotels, B&B Ireland, visitor attractions, incoming tour operators and activity providers. The five-day event, which ended yesterday, attracts 113,000 trade and 60,000 consumer visitors annually. Meanwhile, Ireland has moved up to 19th position in the World Tourism & Travel Competitiveness Index of the world’s top 20 most competitive holiday destinations.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Germany is the second-largest outbound travel market in the world and the third-largest source of overseas visitors to Ireland. Tourism Ireland has a very busy programme of promotional activity underway in Germany for 2013, highlighting all the exciting things happening this year, including a special focus on The Gathering Ireland.
“We are working closely with our tourism partners to highlight the distinctiveness of a holiday in Ireland, the great value available and the variety of things to do and see. Our message for German holidaymakers is that there has never been a better time to visit.”
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar was joined in Berlin by his Northern Irish counterpart, Minister Arlene Foster, to promote the whole island of Ireland to the German and international markets. Last year some 448,200 people visited Ireland from Germany, a 6% increase on the previous year.
Tourism Ireland’s €2.1 million spring TV campaign is running in primetime slots on leading German stations, to an estimated audience of 11 million Germans, to coincide with the important holiday decision-making period in Germany. The campaign also includes a push for St Patrick’s Day, digital marketing and the greening on 17th March of the Allianz Arena – the home of Bayern Munich.
Ireland in World’s Top 20
Meanwhile, Ireland has moved up two places to 19th position in the World Tourism & Travel Competitiveness Index of the world’s top 20 most competitive holiday destinations, having slipped out of the top 20 in 2011. The survey is conducted by the World Economic Forum.
The WEF report highlights Ireland’s effectiveness in marketing the country overseas, placing Ireland in ninth place and ahead of key competitors like the UK, Spain and France. Ireland has also made significant improvements in terms of transport infrastructure.
Like Switzerland, which tops the WEF competitiveness rankings, Ireland performs less well in terms of Purchasing Power Parity and the price of fuel. Ireland also does well in terms of: Policy Rules and Regulations (4th place); Environmental Sustainability (9th); Human Resources (11th); Tourism Infrastructure (12th); and Safety and Security (12th).