Italian visitor numbers for 2018 are on the rise
From January to September this year arrivals from Italy were up 12% on the same period last year. The Italian market delivered a record number of 352,000 Italian visitors to the island of Ireland in 2017, an increase of 5% on 2016. Looking ahead, we are confident of further growth, with increased direct air access working in Ireland’s favour.
Direct air access
It has never been easier for Italians to fly direct to the island of Ireland. Summer 2018 saw a 17% increase in direct flights to Ireland from Italy, to a record 22,871 seats per week from 14 Italian cities, with flights operated by Aer Lingus, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and Volotea to Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Ireland West Airport Knock. Winter access is also stronger than ever. This direct access creates significant opportunities for you to grow your business from the Italian market. Throughout 2019 we will continue to work with access providers to promote the current routes and identify opportunities for additional route development.
Why should you target the Italian market?
Italian visitors are more likely to be holiday makers, to stay longer and to spend more than visitors from many other markets. In 2017, Italian visitors contributed €189M to the Irish economy, and they stayed an average of 9 nights. In 2017, more than half (57%) of all our Italian visitors came to Ireland for a holiday. Italians value quality and are prepared to spend well where they see value for their money. Often late bookers when it comes to packages or accommodation, we are seeing evidence of Italians now booking their flights earlier, to avail of good value web offers. As part of Tourism Ireland’s sustainability strategy, we are working on driving more off-season business from this market and year-round opportunities are available to you to get involved.
A review of the Italian market by Tourism Ireland published in 2016 confirms the Italian Culturally Curious as the segment which offers the most potential for the island of Ireland. These holidaymakers are motivated by Ireland’s stunning scenery and by our authentic culture. Getting to meet local people and understand their lifestyle is a key part of the holiday for these Italian visitors. Good quality local food is an increasingly important theme which we use to engage Italians, alongside images of iconic landscapes and the authenticity of our live music tradition. You can find a handy strategy card with more insights on how to reach Italian visitors here.
Ireland has a strong profile in this market, we’re in the top 5 on the wish list of places Italians most want to visit. Our press office works hard to secure excellent exposure for the island of Ireland as a holiday destination across Italian print, TV and digital media (in 2017, this coverage was worth €15M in equivalent advertising value). We have a large digital footprint with almost 340k fans and followers across Facebook, Twitter and fast-growing Instagram and we work increasingly with key influencers and bloggers in the market to help us reach new audiences.
We have a strong programme of promotional activities planned for 2019 and it is easy for you to get involved.
New for 2019
In line with our ambition to drive more business from Italy outside of the peak season, in 2019 we will launch our campaigns in Q1 and Q4. Take advantage of this extra Ireland visibility and contact us to sign up for some activity in the Italian market early in 2019.
The programme includes B2B opportunities targeting tour operators and travel agents such as trade promotions, webinars and e-zines, and B2C opportunities directly targeting consumers, including partnership advertising campaigns, weekly consumer e-zines, social media campaigns and extensive press office activity. Check out our “Digital Bundles” (Entry, Standard and Premium packages), including our new Instagram opportunities.
Please register your interest in the Italian market to receive alerts, as we will be creating new seasonal opportunities right throughout 2019.
If you have any questions, just drop us a line or give us a call, we will be happy to help. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your business from this important market in 2019. We look forward to working with you to deliver new business from Italy!