Tourism Ireland Unveils New Strategies To Boost Tourism From Spain And Italy

Published on : Tuesday, April 26, 2016

tttTourism Ireland targets +25% growth in Spanish and Italian visitors

Spain and Italy offer significant potential for tourism to Northern Ireland, according to two new Tourism Ireland strategies launched today in Belfast.

The strategies set out challenging and ambitious targets which will see the island of Ireland welcome almost 3.8 million Spanish and Italian visitors between now and 2020 – 825,000 visitors per year from both countries by 2020 – representing growth of +25%.

Key factors working in our favour to enable growth from Spain include:

  • recent strong performance: in 2014, visitor numbers from Spain to Northern Ireland grew by +23%;
  • approximately 21% of all Spanish visitors to the island of Ireland visit in Q4 – a real opportunity for Northern Ireland tourism operators to win business at a time when there is capacity in accommodation and other tourism facilities;
  • direct easyJet flight from Barcelona to Belfast;
  • interest in visiting Northern Ireland is high among Spaniards; and
  • approximately 98% of Spanish visitors are independent travellers, with around 95% booking part of their trip online. Spaniards are also heavy users of social and digital media and are hugely influenced by word of mouth.


Key factors working in our favour to enable growth from Italy over the next four years include:

  • recent strong performance: in 2014, visitor numbers from Italy to Northern Ireland grew by +13%;
  • some 71% of all Italian visitors to Northern Ireland come specifically for holidays;
  • the legacy effect of the Giro d’Italia in Northern Ireland in 2014 – Tourism Ireland generated huge publicity around the event in Italy, giving a significant boost to the profile of Northern Ireland among Italians;
  • a new direct Ryanair flight from Milan to Belfast (from September); and
  • interest in visiting Northern Ireland is high among our ‘culturally curious’ audience.


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Spain and Italy have performed extremely well for tourism to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. We believe that both are markets of considerable potential over the coming years. However, we certainly don’t take the performance for granted; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities to ensure that success continues. I am confident that our new, focused strategies will deliver on the challenging targets we have set for growth in Spanish and Italian visitors, between now and 2020.”

The Tourism Ireland strategies have been developed in close co-operation with a wide range of industry partners, at home and in Spain and Italy. They have identified the opportunities which will drive accelerated growth from both countries to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland over the coming four years.

Source:- Tourism Ireland

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