Tourism Ireland is turning to Star Wars once again to help boost visitor numbers. Its new advertising campaign will be launched to coincide with the cinematic release of The Last Jedi later this year.
This is just one of the steps the agency is taking as it looks to offset a decline in the number of visitors from Britain, Ireland’s biggest tourism market.
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The agency also said it is to redouble efforts to attract so-called ‘culturally curious’ travellers to the country, in part because they are less affected by currency fluctuations that other tourists.
In its mid-year review published on Wednesday, the agency said Ireland recorded its best-ever first-half performance in terms of visitor numbers from mainland Europe, up nearly 6 per cent versus the same period a year earlier.
In addition, visitor numbers from North America climbed 21 .6 per cent in the first half with Australia and developing markets up 20.6 per cent.
The rise in visitors from markets other than the UK led to a 4.2 per cent rise in total overseas travellers to Ireland.
However, visitor numbers from Britain fell 6.4 per cent, largely due to the decline in value of sterling since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
It is a concern, but not a surprise, that the number of visits from Britain has fallen in the early part of the year,” said Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland.
“There is no doubt that competitiveness in our tourism industry is vital at this time,” he added.
Mr Gibbons said the agency is placing a greater focus on the culturally curious, a segment of travellers who are seen to be keen to explore and discover hidden experiences.
Tourism Ireland said it is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world in the second half of 2017 to further boost visitor numbers to Ireland.
These include an advertising campaign to coincide with the release of the latest Star Wars film, parts of which were filmed here. It will also continue to promote the country’s association with Game of Thrones, the new series of which started few weeks ago.
In addition, the agency will partake in a trade mission to the Middle East and India and run a ‘jump into Ireland’ travel trade and media blitz in the US.