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Market Performance

Spanish visitors to Ireland have more than quadrupled since 2000 with over 435,000 visitors in 2018. Tourism Ireland undertook a Strategic Review of the Spanish market to unlock future growth to Ireland and as part of that review will target 460,000 Spanish visitors, delivering €230/£200 million in revenue per year by 2020.

Direct Air Access

There is excellent air access to Ireland from both of these regions with Aer Lingus, Iberia Express, Ryanair and Vueling. There are also direct flights to Dublin from Santiago, Bilbao, Santander, Seville and Málaga, along with the plenty of routes from Spanish coastal regions. There is good regional access with flights to Cork from Madrid with Iberia Express and from Barcelona with Aer Lingus. In addition, new for 2019 are flights from Barcelona El Prat to Shannon building on the existing flights from Reus with Ryanair. In 2018, we also welcomed the new direct ferry service between Santander and Cork with Brittany Ferries which now operates year-round. 

Why should you target this market?

Spain is the 5th largest market into Ireland in terms of visitor numbers, and the 6th strongest market in terms of revenue. Despite some internal political turbulence which is affecting consumer confidence, outbound travel continues to grow; the Spanish National Statistics Office reports an increase of +10.2% in the first half of 2019 versus 2018 with nearly 1MM more trips abroad this year. Travel to Ireland continues to perform well with CSO results to end of September 2019 showing similar levels of visitors to 2018.  
Brand tracker results in 2018 show that there are very high interest levels in visiting Ireland with 82% of all Spaniards saying they intend to visit the country sometime in the future, and 43% saying they intend to travel to Ireland in the next 3 years.

Spaniards are important visitors to the island of Ireland staying an average of 6 nights, and while many will visit Dublin, 23% will visit the West, and 35% will visit the South West and South East. 1 in 10 Spaniards visit Northern Ireland, and both interest and active planning levels are on the rise in recent years.

How to work with this market

Spaniards love to engage with the locals getting under the skin of a place and experiencing places that will give them an insight into the Irish culture and history. They are particularly motivated by our breath-taking scenery. They are sometimes cautious travellers and do like to remain within their comfort zone and not go too far off the beaten path.

Madrid and Barcelona are our main priority regions providing the majority of Spanish holidaymakers to Ireland. 

We primarily target the Spanish Culturally Curious segment. We do this through a programme of finely-tuned campaigns and activities with a particular focus on digital and social media. We have 1.8m visitors to our website on an annual basis and have built up loyal social media communities; 306,000 Facebook fans, 70,000 Instagram followers and 40,000 Twitter followers.

Spain offers great potential to win business in Q4 due to the large number of bank holidays in this period. We have seen a huge growth in this period over the last 5 years (+53% since 2013) and it now accounts for 21% of all of our business. New Year’s Eve is also a time when Spaniards tend to travel so we roll out specific NY campaigns which includes partner offers. 

We will continue to build on our successful co-operative campaigns which sees us partner up with Online Travel Agencies Logitravel and Atrápalo, Tour Operators such as Viajes el Corte Inglés and all our airline partners, Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Iberia Express, and we also work co-operatively with Brittany Ferries. All this activity means Ireland is on TV, outdoor, is in print, on radio and has significant digital coverage. All these activities ensure a Brand Ireland presence with a tactical price offer.

PR and Media is also a big focus for us with over 60 media contacts being sent to Ireland from Spain every year ensuring approx. €10.5M in estimated advertising value of positive coverage in leading newspapers and travel magazines for the island of Ireland, and just over £3M for Northern Ireland

Upcoming Activity

We have lots of ways you can get included in our activities; social media posts, sponsored competitions, e-zines and offers on the website to name but a few. You will find plenty of no-cost and low-cost opportunities here, but we are also more than happy to tailor make some opportunities depending on your budget and business needs. 

Click here to view our complete market profile for Spain and here for our strategy card.

If you have any questions just drop us a line; we’re here to help.
Market contact: Susan Bolger