We met with Geraldine Egan, Industry Liaison Officer, Tourism Ireland at ILTM Cannes, where she told us about the qualities of her nation as a luxury destination.
We are surrounded by water, so Ireland is known for the quality of its seafood – oysters, lobster, mussels, mackerel and so on. In the centre of Ireland, we have beautiful green pastures, ideal for raising sheep and beef, and there is a huge interest in Ireland in good food and in the provenance of food. Our research shows that our visitors from America or Germany where we did market reviews last year – that when they came to Ireland they were really bowled over by the food and drink offering. They had no idea it was going to be so good. So we, as Tourism Ireland, want to make sure now that we get that food and drink story out there, so that when Ireland is on the “decision funnel”, that people know we provide a fabulous food and gastronomic experience as well as drink. In terms of drink, of course we are very well known for the Guinness brewery in Dublin, which has won the prize for many years running as a leading attraction. But we also have a huge range of Irish whiskey distilleries. Our business organisation, IBEC, the Irish Business and Economic Confederation, they have about 22 whiskey and gin distillery attractions as their members and they are currently devising a tour of all those distilleries which should be ready for market in 2019. There are some terrific experiences already available, each offering unique stories. We of course have some the of the world’s most renowned brands, but this rebirth of distilleries across the island is something quite special and exciting.
What “different” itinerary ideas do you have?
We are promoting “Ireland’s ancient east” – an experience brand. It’s all about bringing to life 5,000 years of history in lovely green, lush landscape. It’s the land of story-tellers, with so much history. You have the Medieval city of Kilkenny where you can visit Kilkenny Castle, a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands and the Smithwicks Brewery.
Wedding tourism is booming as well. Please tell us more.
We have created new wedding content on our consumer site Ireland.com. This comes off the back of the international wedding event, Engage!18 hosted in our own Adare Manor, in County Limerick. Being the location for many exclusive high-end and celebrity weddings in the past, this also brings our luxury locations under the looking glass.
Could you tell us about your new brand campaign?
Yes, we have created the first tourism campaign made with the heart-rate data of two of its visitors. Developed by Publicis London, “Fill your heart with Ireland” is our first major global campaign since 2011. For this, Tourism Ireland invited a real married couple to experience Ireland for the first time, and throughout the trip, they wore custom-made technology to track their physiological responses along the way. A head-mounted camera was linked up to the couple’s covert heart-monitors which meant Tourism Ireland could see the heart rate response to each individual experience captured. The data provided by these heart-rate monitors determined what footage featured in the advertising, to prove the heart-filling effect that the island of Ireland has on its visitors. The film sees the couple kayaking in Achill Island on the west coast, exploring Devenish Island’s monastic sites in Northern Ireland, and climbing some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League on the north-west coast – destinations that many viewers may not be aware of.
RESOURCE: The Dublin Distillery Trail
Northern Ireland has a number of luxury itineraries. Click here to discover more: ni luxury itineraries