The largest travel trade fair in the world, ITB in Berlin, has kicked off.
Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe joined Tourism Ireland and 21 tourism companies from Ireland and Germany at the fair yesterday, in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of the German travel market – the world’s second-largest outbound travel market.
Last year was a record year for Irish tourism from Germany – when we welcomed an estimated 538,000 German visitors, an increase of +15% on 2013. Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotional activity again in 2015 – to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) is the biggest promotion of the year – attracting some 170,000 visitors from 189 countries across the world. Of these, about 110,000 are trade visitors – including leading tour operators, travel agents, airlines, travel media and bloggers – not just from Germany but from all over the world.
The five-day event provides a valuable opportunity to network, negotiate and exchange vital contracts with the influential international tour operators and travel agents in attendance. The Wild Atlantic Way, Causeway Coastal Route, Yeats 150, ID2015 (the year of Irish Design) and the Irish Open at Royal County Down are just some of the key themes being highlighted by Tourism Ireland at this year’s ITB.
Minister Donohoe said: “I am very pleased to support Tourism Ireland and their tourism industry partners at ITB 2015. This is the biggest tourism trade fair in the world and Germany is a very important market for Irish tourism. The Government believes strongly in the importance of tourism as a vehicle for Irish economic recovery and we are committed to supporting the tourism industry’s efforts to increase Ireland’s export earnings from overseas tourism.”
With so many destinations all competing for business at ITB, Tourism Ireland’s aim is to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the influential audience at the show. Speaking from ITB Berlin, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of our industry partners on the Tourism Ireland stand at ITB this year is extremely welcome – and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace. Germans who are interested in taking a holiday which involves sightseeing and local culture remain our core audience; we are also targeting people who engage in outdoor activities while on holidays. ITB provides an excellent opportunity to spread the word about all the great things to see and do in Ireland, as well as to raise awareness about the exciting programme of events taking place this year, including ID2015 (the year of Irish Design), Yeats 2015 and the Irish Open. The Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route continue to be a major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotions in Germany, and elsewhere around the world.”
More than 14 million Germans will see advertising for Ireland this spring. Tourism Ireland’s TV campaign got under way in Germany earlier this year, on national channels like ARD, Sat1 Kabel 1 and RTL; and online ads for Ireland are also running on popular German websites. In 2015, Tourism Ireland will invite 250 top German journalists to visit the island of Ireland – generating positive publicity worth some €35 million. Co-operative campaigns with carriers like Aer Lingus, Irish Ferries and Lufthansa are promoting ease of access to Ireland from Germany; and Tourism Ireland is also working with major tour operators like Dertour and online travel agents such as Opodo.