GIANT SPIRIT: Tourism Ireland's Big Plans For 2020 & Beyond

Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, Australia & New Zealand Alison Metcalfe was in Australia this week to share Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy in Australia for 2020 and beyond.

Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, Australia & New Zealand Alison Metcalfe was in Australia this week to share Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy in Australia for 2020 and beyond.

We caught up with Alison Metcalfe during her visit and she was quick to praise the value of the Australian traveller in Ireland.

“Australians are very independent travellers,” she told Karryon.

“Australian travellers stay longer and spend more. We feel the opportunity to grow that market is certainly there”.

Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, Australia & New Zealand Alison Metcalfe

Travellers from Australia spend an average of 13 nights on the island of Ireland; they travel around two or more regions and spend more money as they go.

In fact, these visitors are amongst the most valuable as they spend +50% more per trip than the average of all overseas visitors.

Australia is also the fifth most important overseas market for Northern Ireland, with one in five visiting Northern Ireland.

Alison Metcalfe in Australia.

This is a particularly important point, with Tourism Ireland just launching a new push for Northern Ireland through the new “Embrace the Giant Spirit” campaign.

Alison explained that this ties in with the great outdoor experiences and big personalities of the Northern Irish people.

The new campaign is part of Tourism Ireland’s plan to spread tourism right around the island and deliver sustainable growth.

Northern Ireland has a lot to offer this year with a key highlight being the opening of HBO’s Game of Thrones studio tour at Linen Mill Studios with scenes, sets, and props from Westeros.

“We want to spread the benefit rights around Ireland, drive more regional growth and encourage people to travel outside the peak season,” she said.

One of the ways they are doing this is through promoting new festivals such as the Galway Festival in February 2020, the Taste the Island festival and the Púca Halloween festival.

The spotlight is also being put on alternative experiences across the island like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

Alison expressed her gratitude for retail Travel Agents in Australia.

“We will be offering a number of famils for Agents and a regular series of webinars they can plug into. We have an Agent specialists program and have a lot of content and collateral on offer for them,” she said.