Canada offers significant potential for Irish tourism, according to new research unveiled by Tourism Ireland. The launch was attended by tourism industry leaders from around Ireland – including B&B Ireland, based in Ballyshannon.

The Canadian market has performed strongly for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years. Ireland is now the seventh most popular European destination for Canadian travellers, in a growing outbound market. In 2018, around 240,000 Canadians visited the island of Ireland, spending about €230 million. And, holiday visitor numbers from Canada have more than doubled over the last five years – from 72,000 in 2013 to around 165,000 in 2018. Canadian visitors are highly prized as they tend to stay longer, spend more and visit more of the regions of Ireland than the average visitor.

Tourism Ireland aims to build on the success of recent years. The organisation undertook research of the Canadian market this spring, which examined the profile of our current Canadian holidaymakers. It also identified the opportunities and challenges which will drive growth from Canada to Ireland over the coming years.

One of the key factors working in our favour is the number of direct flights from Canada to Ireland. Summer 2019 will see an estimated 10,627 direct, one-way air seats available each week from Canada to Ireland – from major gateways including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, Hamilton and Calgary.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “Canada has performed extremely well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. However, we can’t take this performance for granted; in order to ensure that success continues, we need to adapt and respond to new challenges and opportunities. I am confident that the opportunities identified in our research, and the strategy we will implement as a result, will deliver further growth in Canadian visitor numbers over the coming years.”


PIC SHOWS: Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; Louise McGee, B&B Ireland; with Niall Gibbons and Dana Welch, both Tourism Ireland, at the Canada review launch 2019.
Pic – Colm Mahady/ Fennell Photography 

Tourism Ireland’s research has identified a number of opportunities which will help deliver growth in Canadian visitor numbers. These include:

shoulder and off-peak travel: year-round, direct flights allow us to promote the island of Ireland for shoulder and off-peak season travel;
‘new’ icons: highlighting our lesser-known visitor attractions and experiences allows us to promote the ‘newness’ of an Irish holiday – particularly to repeat visitors;
strong interest in soft adventure, hiking and golf among Canadian travellers;
the appeal of a combined Ireland and Britain holiday in the winter months; and
the increasing popularity of weekend city breaks among Canadian travellers.

Tourism Ireland’s focus in Canada will now include:

- dialling up what is different to home and the European appeal of an Irish holiday – highlighting our ancient history, our contemporary history (including places like Kilmainham Gaol), our visibly different cityscapes (such as our Georgian squares) and the vibrancy of our festivals and events;

- expanding its programme of promotions in western Canada and in Montreal, particularly in publicity, travel trade activity and co-operative promotions;

- targeting niche segments, with messages about soft adventure activities and hiking;

- an increased focus on golf;

- working more closely with the Canadian travel trade, to grow affinity group business;

- expanding its travel trade education programme to feature lesser-known attractions; and

- exploring opportunities with VisitBritain to reach new audiences, by promoting both Britain and Ireland for winter travel.

PIC SHOWS: Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; Louise McGee, B&B Ireland (based in Ballyshannon); with Niall Gibbons and Dana Welch, both Tourism Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s new research on the Canadian market.

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