Tourism Minister Arlene Foster has unveiled plans to increase the number of overseas holidaymakers to Northern Ireland in 2012 by 20%.
The Tourism Ireland Marketing Plans, which include a new advertising campaign, were launched in Belfast today.
Television advertisements, to be screened in January with the tagline ‘Jump into Northern Ireland’, will feature a track from Snow Patrol’s latest album.
Additional radio, press, cinema and online advertising means the campaign will target 22 markets around the world with an estimated annual audience of 60million potential visitors.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: “Tourism Ireland is planning the most extensive programme of marketing activity and campaigns ever undertaken for Northern Ireland, and there has never been a better time to do so than in 2012. It is the year when Northern Ireland will take centre stage with new, iconic visitor attractions, unprecedented events and historic anniversaries.
“NI 2012 offers a unique opportunity to change perceptions and confidently put Northern Ireland on the global tourism map – and the signs are already encouraging. Statistics for the first six months of 2011 show an 11% increase in visitors from overseas with growth from all major markets, including the very important GB market.
“We must continue to capitalise on NI 2012 by maximising visitor numbers and ensuring that the momentum created by its positive legacy, and the associated growth in tourism, continues well beyond next year.”
Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 1.51 million overseas visitors will have come to Northern Ireland, representing a 6% increase over 2010. Revenue generated by overseas visitors is expected to be approximately £340 million, a 16% increase over last year.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2011 has seen significant growth in overseas tourism in the first six months and visitor numbers are forecast to reach 1.51 million for the year, a 6% increase on 2010.”
Tourism Ireland’s targets will see Northern Ireland welcoming 1.66 million overseas visitors in 2012; representing growth in total visitors of 10% and 20% in holidaymakers.
Niall Gibbons said: “We are on the cusp of a very exciting year for Northern Ireland. For Tourism Ireland, and all of us working in the tourism industry, next year will be all about harnessing the unprecedented opportunity presented by NI 2012.
“It will be a truly wonderful opportunity to confidently put Northern Ireland on the global stage in a completely new way, to capture and hold the focus of world attention for all the most positive reasons. The superb programme of new attractions, events and historic anniversaries taking place next year will stimulate interest in Northern Ireland and help define what makes us different and why overseas visitors should choose to come here.”
Tourism Ireland plans to significantly increase the numbers of Northern Ireland industry partners participating in promotions around the world for 2012, to help bring the distinctiveness of a Northern Ireland holiday to life for overseas consumers.
Arlene Foster added: “Belfast has already been voted one of the world’s Top 20 best places to visit next year by National Geographic’s ‘Traveller’ magazine and I have no doubt Northern Ireland will continue to achieve top billing as the exciting programme of events unfolds in the coming months.”