Market conditions/ performance
There were around a quarter of a million visitors from the Nordic region to Ireland in 2018. As a group of source markets with one of the highest average spend per visitor, the Nordics represent a huge opportunity for the island of Ireland. With stable economies and political systems, Nordic consumers are willing and able travellers, collectively taking around 50M overseas trips per annum. Direct air access to Dublin from all four main Nordic capital cities remains very good in 2019 with Ryanair, SAS, Norwegian and Finnair operating frequent weekly services year-round. Great Dane Airlines will launch a new route from Aalborg to Dublin this year, and Ryanair will begin operating direct from Gothenburg to Dublin. Nordic visitors to the island of Ireland are expected to increase by a further 20% by 2020.
What countries in the region is Tourism Ireland active in?
Tourism Ireland’s Nordic office in Copenhagen services Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. These are in order of priority, with Sweden representing the best prospect in the medium term for Ireland. We run online activity in all five countries driving to one English language website. We have a very active publicity programme in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. We have relationships with members of the local trade in all five countries and we work with all the airlines operating services to Ireland from the region.
Nordic profile of the Culturally Curious
The Nordic visitor to Ireland is slightly older (40+) and they are likely to be travelling as a couple or with other adult friends. The typical Nordic holidaymaker stays for an average of five nights in Ireland. They are very comfortable speaking English and enjoy meeting and talking with Irish people. City breaks, especially Dublin, are a key attraction for Nordic visitors since they are interested in Ireland's cultural and historic product and enjoying good quality local food and drink.
What they want from a holiday
• Vibrant city life. They are looking for bars with Irish music and lively atmosphere.
• Top quality food is very important and Nordic travellers are less price sensitive about this than other visitors.
• Irish whiskey is very popular in these countries and distillery visits and whiskey products are a big attraction for the Nordic visitor.
• Traditional Irish Music resonates very well. Nordic visitors are among the largest overseas group attending TradFest every year.
• As high-income visitors, the majority will stay in 3* and 4* hotels.
• With almost 500k registered golfers in Sweden there is good awareness of Ireland’s golf product, in particular our links courses which are open longer than most courses in the Nordics.
• A notable characteristic is the domination of city breaks, with 66% visiting Dublin only on a trip to Ireland. Nordic visitors are reluctant to rent a car and drive on the left but are open to using public transport.
• Being active in nature and getting off the beaten track is important, but experiences must be easily accessible from cities, where Nordics are most likely to stay.
Due to the huge geographic area, access is centralised to the main cities. More than other European travellers, Nordic travellers are accustomed to flying to destinations indirectly from their small regional airports.
• Sweden: SAS and Norwegian year-round service from Stockholm to Dublin. Ryanair will commence Gothenburg to Dublin from May 2019.
• Denmark: Excellent access with daily Dublin flights from Ryanair, Norwegian and SAS from Copenhagen. Great Dane Airlines will inaugurate a service from Billund during 2019
• Norway: Access from Oslo to Dublin with SAS and Norwegian.
• Finland: Year-round access with Finnair and Norwegian.
• Iceland: Icelandair to Dublin.
Our social media fan base has grown further in 2017, gaining many valuable social connections and increasing customer engagement. We have:
Over 100,000 Facebook fans
Around 5,000 Twitter followers
Nearly 60,000 GDPR approved contacts on our consumer database
We will continue to focus on engaging with potential visitors through these platforms in 2019. Traffic is driven to our (English language) consumer website year-round through search engine marketing, online advertising, on and offline publicity and social media campaigns. We encourage and promote special offers from the island of Ireland industry, which we advertise on our site and through our weekly consumer e-zines on a continuous basis to entice the Nordic visitor to book now.
Key themes in 2019
• City+Plus breaks; longer stays in cities and their accessible hinterland by promoting Dublin, Surprising by Nature and Belfast city.
• Longer holiday coastal tours including the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route.
• Outdoor activities including golf. The 148th Open, Royal Portrush will feature prominently in our publicity in late 2018 and early 2019. We will leverage the interest generated by the event in July 2019 to tap into wider interest in golf breaks in Ireland.
• Ireland’s Ancient East: particularly using the shared Viking heritage as a hook.
• Northern Ireland: Games of Thrones and the Causeway Coastal Route including attractions such as The Gobbins will be highlighted in publicity and through online consumer campaigns and engagement with Nordic travel trade partners.
We look forward to working with you in 2019 and beyond to bring even more visitors from the Nordic region to the Island of Ireland.