Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, has confirmed that a €450,000 marketing blitz for the west of Ireland is currently under way.
“Tourism Ireland is currently running €450,000 worth of winter marketing for air services to Knock. I hope this campaign will bring real benefits during the winter months, and will also feed through into the spring and summer seasons in 2012.
“This co-operative marketing campaign is being run jointly by Tourism Ireland, along with Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and Flybe, in order to promote the new services announced for the airport.
“Tourism Ireland has also confirmed that the west of Ireland will continue to feature in its own promotional material, for its beautiful scenery, and for the friendliness of its people.
“I’m delighted to confirm that the number of visitors from mainland Europe has risen by 10 per cent this year. This group of visitors is particularly important for the west of Ireland.
“The good news is that current signs for 2012 are also positive, with tour operators and Tourism Ireland predicting a 4.5 per cent increase in visitor numbers.
“We will also be encouraging Irish people to holiday at home, and our Discover Ireland marketing campaign will continue throughout 2012”, said Minister Ring.
Meanwhile, Minister Ring has confirmed that Ireland West Airport Knock is being promoted heavily to tourists and pilgrims in Britain and further afield.
“Pilgrimages to Knock Shrine are currently being advertised in the Catholic and regional press in Britain. This advertising campaign will continue in 2012 as well.”
Minister Ring added he has also asked Tourism Ireland to work closely with Ryanair and Knock Airport in 2012 to ensure that the four new air routes into the airport are promoted to overseas visitors.
“These routes to Frankfurt, Paris, Milan and Barcelona mean that some 330 million people now have direct access to Mayo and the west,” Minister Ring said.
“Tourism Ireland is also regularly bringing journalists and tourism operators into Knock to promote the west of Ireland, and showing how easy it is to reach the west coast via Knock Airport.
“Our tourism agencies like Fáilte Ireland are also providing support to tourism businesses in the west, and across Ireland, to help them focus on the British market. I hope that all of these efforts will help to keep overseas visitors coming in to Knock Airport, and will ensure that the new routes will have a real impact on tourism in the west of Ireland.”