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Market Performance

Looking set to exceed 550k visitor to the island of Ireland in 2019, France is the #4 overseas market and a significant source of seasonal and repeat visitors (46%) to the island of Ireland.

April – June remains a real opportunity to win business from France as 33% of our visitors and holiday-makers travel during this period. 40% book their holidays during Q1. The seasonality trend also continues as French visitors continue to book through September and October in Ireland.

While the gilets jaune movement coupled with changing processes in subsidies for work social group travel, led in part to a dip in the number of group bookings from this mainland Europe stalwart, the overall number of visitors from France looked set to increase by 1-2% overall for 2019. (as of October 31st).

Direct Air Access

Regionality both Ireland and from France was a central tenet of our B2B and B2C strategy throughout 2019 leveraging west of Ireland access via Air France and Aer Lingus Cork routes and the increase in regional route access from France with Air Lingus. 

Why should you target this market?

Tourism Ireland’s highly successful B2B regional roadshows, visited four French cities: Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice and Lyons in 2019 to promote the wealth of new regional product throughout the island specifically to market trade in cities with year-round access to the island of Ireland.  The events also promoted two key messages – the variety and provenance of Irish food – through the Taste the Island campaign and the launch of the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands experience brand. Another highlight of 2019 activity was major PR interest generated in late September at Bayeux with the arrival of the Game of Thrones tapestry (in situ until December 31st, 2019).

The hosting of the Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 gave an opportunity for French consumers to learn about the island of Ireland’s spectacular golf product– and to cast a spotlight on the North coast of the island. Tourism Ireland’s focus on the island of Ireland luxury product–another niche area –was a focus which will be further developed next year.

How to work with this market

In 2020 Tourism Ireland will continue promote regionality and seasonality messages in France launching Phase 2 of the roadshow series in Marseilles, Nantes and Paris and working with market operators to leverage their platforms creating new face to face opportunities for Irish industry. Other regional themes will include: A new Saint Patrick’s initiative to leverage island of Ireland product around this key period in the French consumer calendar and An adopt a region initiative which will focus French efforts on lesser visited parts of Ireland’s west coast  and the eagerly anticipated consumer launch of the new Northern Ireland experience brand “Embrace a Giant Spirit” which will be rolled out in Q1.

Tourism Ireland’s annual B2C brand campaigns will kick off as usual to coincide with Six Nations season and the Ireland/France rugby match This activity will be mirrored by B2B2C activities across nationwide French retail chains.

Tourism Ireland will continue to work with Trade and Industry partners to promote specific packages and capitalize on the additional new access into Ireland including the new Shannon route with Aer Lingus as well as continuing to work with existing partners.

Upcoming Activity

In addition to the above there will also be several opportunities through e-zines and social media to participate with us and get your message across to French Consumers and Trade about your product offerings.  Our monthly Trade e-zine targets over 2,100 readers with product and industry related news from Ireland and news of French market campaigns. We will also continue to educate the travel trade with a series of webinars and information evenings.

Please check this website regularly as we make new marketing opportunities available throughout the year. We look forward to working with you throughout 2020 and to building on the continued success of the French market for island of Ireland tourism.

Click here to view our market profile.

​Market Contact: Fiona Dunne