Tourism Ireland expects to activate its global big green button campaign in Australia from late August – a marketing initiative aimed squarely at re-starting tourism with firm bookings.
Australia is the final launch pad for Tourism Ireland’s campaign which kicked off overseas nine months ago. It has already rolled out in markets including Great Britain, the United States, parts of Europe, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
“Australia is an incredibly important market to us,” said Siobhan McManamy, Acting CEO of Tourism Ireland who was in Australia last week to reveal the fresh push.
McManamy – who last visited Australia 2.5 years ago pre-pandemic [and who is temporarily filling the shoes of CEO Niall Gibbons], said the average length of stay for Australian travellers to Ireland was over 13 nights. Typically, the Australian traveller disperses to regional parts of Ireland, either on tour or self-guided exploration, and is in the top 3 spenders of international markets for the country.
Pre-COVID, in 2019 there were 252,000 arrivals from Australia and New Zealand to Ireland, making the region a Top 10 source.
“This is the last one of our established markets to reopen. We’re now back at full tilt so that’s a big thrill for us to have the full team back and working,” McManamy added at an event at Chiswick, Woollahra in Sydney.
Sofia Hansson, Regional Manager of Tourism Ireland, Australia/New Zealand said the lifting of border restrictions on arrivals to Ireland in the past few months was a positive step towards ease of travel.
“Our message is very much that Ireland is open for business again. We can’t wait to roll out the green carpet and welcome back visitors from Australia,” Hansson remarked.
Alison Metcalfe, Executive VP North America & Australia, Tourism Ireland reiterated the significance of the Australian market, while recognising the work of the local office under Hansson.
“A big thank you to Sofia and the team because for the last 2.5 years we’ve been keeping the lights on. But more than that – keeping people inspired about future travel and sharing all the great experiences that await Australian travellers,” Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe confirmed Tourism Ireland’s plans to reignite activity in Australia, working with local partners “to stimulate demand and to covert business. We can’t do it on our own,” she added.
The New York-based Tourism Ireland executive of 20 years said it was apparent that there is a “huge, pent-up demand for travel” out of Australia, and while outbound travel restrictions during the pandemic were “tough” they haven’t “dampened people’s interest in travel.
“People’s interest in international travel particularly, and we hope that interest is in Europe and we hope that interest in the island of Ireland,” she said.
“What’s really taken us all by surprise – and we’ve seen this in North America and we’re seeing this now in Australia – is just how quickly that switch has flipped. People have been hunkered down in their basement, or working at home, they really want to get going.
“We’re all grappling with this huge demand [and] we want to make sure to satisfy that demand,” she said.
Metcalfe told LATTE that Ireland offers an abundance of unique, luxury experiences, including stays at private homes, in villas, manors and castles, such as Adare Manor in Co Limerick or Dromoland Castle in Co Clare; private tours; golfing; and gourmet experiences, like Whiskey on the Rocks at Giant’s Causeway.
She also noted that Australia is a leading market for visitation to Northern Ireland in particular.
The ‘Green Button’ campaign is Tourism Ireland’s largest promotion ever. The ‘green means go‘ button (which also links to the colour of Ireland) centres around key Irish landmarks including the Cliffs of Moher, Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, Lough Tay and Trinity College.
“It’s the most integrated campaign we’ve ever launched. Television, digital – we will be launching it in Australia. It’ll primarily be a digital and social campaign in our major markets. It’s designed to strengthen that travel intent and drive conversion,” Metcalfe said.
“We’ve been inspiring people for two and a half years. Now is the time to book.
“We’ve seen really really good results in other markets and I’ve no doubt we’re going to see similar results here in Australia,” Metcalfe concluded.
Lead image: Pictured at Chiswick, Woollahra restaurant in Sydney, from left, are Tourism Ireland’s Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President North America & Australia; Sofia Hansson, Regional Manager – Australia/New Zealand and Siobhan McManamy, Acting Chief Executive Officer.