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Friday 16th October 2015
A Breath of Fresh Air for Dublin as Minister Donohoe Launches New Brand and Marketing Campaign
€1m Earmarked for First Phase of New Public/Private Marketing Initiative to reposition Dublin as a unique destination
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports, Paschal Donohoe TD, today unveiled a new tourism marketing campaign for Dublin which seeks to reposition the city and county as a destination and secure its appeal to overseas visitors for the long-term future. With €1m earmarked for the first phase, funded by Fáilte Ireland, the four Dublin local authorities and a collection of private-sector partners, the marketing campaign will centre on a new brand for Dublin and will be pitched at potential visitors in the UK and Europe throughout the Autumn.
Today’s initiative, launched in Croke Park, follows many months of comprehensive work and consultation, coordinated by the ‘Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance’ (GDTA), between all the key players within the tourism industry in Dublin - both public and private sector. The GDTA was established by Fáilte Ireland to develop the plans set out in Destination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020 which was published in early 2014 and which recommended that a new brand and marketing campaign be developed for Dublin.
Speaking today, Minister Donohoe emphasised:
“We all know that this year was a really good year for tourism in Dublin with the city thronged with tourists and our hotels full throughout the summer. However, we need to look to Dublin’s long-term appeal and to guarantee that, whatever happens in external markets or however currencies fluctuate, Dublin continues to attract visitors and compete with other city destinations overseas.
“What we have here in Dublin is unique. We have a young, vibrant, happening city with a rich culture and heritage which is nestled between the wide open spaces of Dublin Bay and the Dublin mountains. There is no point, however, in being Europe’s best kept secret and I very much welcome this new campaign to reposition the city and county and ensure that its unique appeal cuts through in the international marketplace.”
A new brand for Dublin
Following extensive research in overseas markets to find out what prospective visitors look for when choosing a destination and, having also widely consulted the capital’s interested stakeholders, the GDTA has developed a new brand for the city which captures Dublin’s unique appeal for visitors:
‘Dublin – A breath of Fresh Air’
This new brand (with associated logo and designs) seeks to communicate Dublin’s unique position as a vibrant capital city bursting with a variety of surprising experiences and a destination where city living thrives side by side with the natural outdoors. In other words, Dublin is a city but more than just a city and, nestled alongside mountains and sea, it provides an experience not found in other cities.
Speaking at today’s launch, Michael Carey, Chairman of the GDTA, explained:
“All of us around the table – tourism businesses, retailers, representative associations and State agencies – feel that this new brand captures the essence of what makes Dublin different. Given its size and proximity to sea and countryside, Dublin can offer up a variety of experiences not usually found in a European city. It provides, for a city break, a difference - a breath of fresh air.
“This brand and look will now permeate all our marketing of Dublin and it is envisaged that all stakeholders in the industry will adopt it in their own marketing, advocates for the city will use it when talking with friends and colleagues abroad and developers within the tourism sector will use it when designing new projects”.
A joint marketing campaign
From next week (Monday 19th October), the new brand will feature strongly in a marketing campaign in the UK, including targeted transport and commuter outdoor advertising. A marketing campaign will also begin shortly in France and Germany with an emphasis on digital and social media marketing. Digital marketing will also play a significant role in communicating the new brand at home in order to rally Dublin businesses and the wider public behind the new messaging.
The new Dublin marketing campaign is being financed through a joint public/private marketing fund. Of the €1m committed to the first phase of the marketing campaign, Fáilte Ireland is providing €450,000 towards the fund, the four local authorities in Dublin city and county are contributing €300,000, Dublin Hotels are providing €150,000 and the balance is being provided by other private sector operators, including: Brown Thomas; the Guinness Storehouse; Irish Distillers; the Restaurants Association of Ireland; the Licenced Vintners Association; The Dublin Airport Authority; the Dublin Chamber of Commerce; Dublintown (the Dublin City Business Improvement District); the Dublin City Business Association; Irish Ferries; Epic Ireland; Retail Excellence Ireland; and Croke Park. It is envisaged that this funding model will also be used to fund further campaigns next year and beyond.
The campaign seeks to reposition Dublin from a city that is defined mainly as a party city to a ‘must visit’ destination with an evolving breadth and depth of stimulating experiences to see and do. It is designed to move the perception of Dublin from a weak and one dimensional image to that of a city pulsing with life, from its ever evolving culture and curiosity to its vibrant people – emphasising that the city breathes life into those who visit. Furthermore, the campaign will stress that Dublin has a spontaneous openness, both in its city layout and its friendliness, which allows visitors to enter freely and easily find surprising experiences as its compact nature ensures that it is easy to explore what the entire city and region has to offer.
Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn added:
”This is the first Dublin-dedicated tourism campaign in many years and it is very much a welcome development. Firstly, it is necessary as Dublin is in danger of allowing its brand to become a bit stale while our competitor cities overseas have actually been reinventing themselves.
“Secondly, this initiative is a great example of the joined-up working that Irish tourism very much needs if we are to enjoy sustained and robust growth in the years ahead. This initiative has been dependent on tourism operators, sports, arts and culture interests and the wider business community working closer together as never before. To fully ensure we are successful in our ambitions for this enterprise, we would also encourage the wider community and all who love Dublin to get behind the new brand and messaging and support us as we promote a Dublin with a difference.”
An Action Plan for Dublin
The GTDA today also published the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance Progress and Action Plan. Within this document, the GDTA have identified a number of crucial enablers to sustain growth in Dublin, including: funding; branding; collaboration and measurement. A number of core parts of the visitor experience have also been identified for prioritisation, such as the access and transport; accommodation and food; and the cruise passenger experience.
Originally in 2012, when work on repositioning Dublin began, the ambition was to grow the total number of visits to 6.2m by 2020, with international tourist spending almost doubling to some €2.5bn from an initial base of €1.4 billion. However, growth in tourism in Dublin during 2014 and 2015 has been at approximately 12% per annum due mainly to recovering economic conditions and, for now, favourable currency rates. It is now estimated that the original 2020 target will now be realised if a 6.5% rate of growth is achieved annually between 2016 and 2020.
However, sustained growth cannot be taken for granted and GDTA Chairman Michael Carey pointed out:
“Tourists aren’t aware of what Dublin has to offer and what makes it distinct. Compared to other European cities, Dublin is seen as ‘dusty’ and old-fashioned. To compete with other cities, we need to reposition Dublin from the current narrow and ‘dusty’ interpretation to one that encapsulates Dublin’s dynamic and bustling personality. If we continue to be content with the status quo, we will fall behind compared to competitor destination cities”.
Director of Dublin for Fáilte Ireland, Orla Carroll also cautioned against complacency:
“Other competitor cities in Europe are focussed on achieving aggressive growth, and unless Dublin can keep pace with competitors, we may soon fall too far behind to compete at this high level in the tourism arena. While conditions are good at present, rather than resting on our laurels we must treat this period as a critical window now to future-proof Dublin against our competitor markets.
“In particular, our 2020 targets cannot be achieved without significant change in the accommodation sector. In order to facilitate the projected increase in visitor numbers, accommodation in Dublin must be increased substantially. A change in public policy to aid more accommodations coming on-stream may be a necessary avenue for exploration”.