The Irish government has started a tourism campaign – Ireland’s Ancient East – in hopes that the country’s heritage will attract another 600,000 overseas visitors per year.
Created by Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, the campaign will make use of the historical and cultural assets to bring greater international attention to the east and south regions of the country. The new initiative will be based on four distinct thematic pillars:
- Ancient Ireland – The Dawn of Civilisation
- Early Christian Ireland
- Medieval Ireland
- Anglo Ireland
It will highlight some of Ireland’s most famous medieval landmarks, such as Clonmacnoise, Holycross Abbey, the city of Kilkenny, and the Rock of Cashel. Fáilte Ireland explains the lure of this area for potential tourists:
For those who love to peel back the layers of time, Ireland’s Ancient East will be promoted as a wonderful opportunity to experience 5000 years of European history in a compact area. Visitors can get off the beaten track to see, hear, touch and feel the imprints of the millennia of settlers in this land and discover Stone Age art, monasteries, castles and fortresses.
The initiative will also trade on the engaging authenticity to life in the local, bustling towns and villages. Visitors will be encouraged to take in a festival; try local fresh produce or tasty local specialties, many of which trace their roots to ancient times.
Fáilte Ireland also released this video, which they will be using to promote the campaign in the travel and tourism industry:
Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, explained in a statement, “Recent growth in visitor numbers has confirmed Ireland is a popular destination. However, the market research tells us that there is potentially a lot more growth out there if we pitch our best assets to those segments with the most potential. Indeed, when I recently launched our new national tourism policy, ‘People Places and Policy’, I emphasised that we would need to continue developing projects that were both big enough and attractive to help us cut through to compete in international markets.
“With the great amount of history and heritage in such a relatively compact area, ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ will allow us to seriously build on the assets we have in the east and south – and the significant investment which has been made in tourism attractions in the region over the last few years. While appealing to a different type of a visitor, I am confident that Ireland’s Ancient East will prove as effective and popular as the Wild Atlantic Way and will deliver significant additional numbers of visitors, revenue and jobs to the region.”
Fáilte Ireland believes that the campaign will deliver deliver an extra 600,000 overseas visitors (growth of more than 20%) to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25% to €950m in total by 2020.
Shaun Quinn, the CEO of Fáilte Ireland, explained,“We are very encouraged by the strong overseas interest in Ireland and in this year’s Meitheal event. It is particularly noteworthy that 20% of the international agents joining us this week are currently not programming Ireland in their plans and, therefore, represent great potential for growth in 2016.
“We have placed ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ – along with the Wild Atlantic Way, Dublin and a number of other features – very much into our pitch to all these overseas buyers as they plan their schedules for next year. Indeed, I have to say, the reception to our new initiative has so far been incredibly enthusiastic and confirms our belief that ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ is a brand which will have strong resonance in our key overseas markets.
“Importantly, this brand should significantly transform tourism in the region – changing the east and south of this country from a transit zone to a compelling touring region.”