New blueprint to grow tourism in Dublin launched

New blueprint to grow tourism in Dublin launched
Pictured at the Grow Dublin Taskforce Launch were Minister Varadkar, Lucy McCaffrey and Shaun Quinn

Capital could double tourism revenue to €2.5bn by 2020

A new plan for tourism in Dublin envisages a best case scenario where visitor numbers could grow by 7% a year, visitor spending increase by 8.6% a year and spending by international visitors would almost double to just under €2.5bn by 2020. The plan, Destination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020 was developed by the Grow Dublin Taskforce – representing tourism and business interests in the city - and was launched today in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin by Oisín Quinn, Lord Mayor of Dublin, and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar T.D.

Today’s report, while emphasising that tourism is important to Dublin in terms of revenue and jobs, finds that the capital is underperforming and has slipped behind its main city competitors in Europe.  Although, over the last three years, the city has shown the beginnings of a recovery, a real awareness of Dublin and all that it can offer is not fully appreciated – particularly in those market segments which hold the most potential for growth in international visitor numbers.

The strategy set out today offers a roadmap for growing Dublin’s tourism in the years ahead – including identifying those market segments with most promise, outlining the need for a new brand and more modern image for the city and stressing the need for all interests in Dublin to come together to ensure that tourism can fulfil its true potential.

Welcoming the report, the Lord Mayor said - 

“The launch of the Grow Dublin Taskforce Report is the result of a very successful collaboration between Dublin City Council, Fáilte Ireland and a number of other stakeholders.  Dublin is a fantastic tourist destination with lots to offer any visitor.   The taskforce understood the importance of getting the right message to the right people as the first step to success.  The work of the Grow Dublin Taskforce, along with the roadmap now provided by the ‘Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020’, plots a clearly defined route which will help us stay on course to achieve further visitor growth and greater economic success for the city over the coming years.”

Also at today’s launch, Minister Varadkar added -

“2013 was a really good year for tourism in Dublin.  The city was thronged with tourists and our hotels were full throughout summer.  The common narrative is that the recovery in tourism has been stronger and faster in Dublin and that Dublin is doing much better than the rest of the country.  That may be true but it misses the point. 

“Dublin is not in competition with the rest of Ireland for international visitors.  It is in competition with other cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam and Vienna. There is no reason why we should not aspire to doing even better than them.  That’s what today is all about.  Dublin’s tourist offering is unique, it is a young, vibrant, happening city with rich culture and heritage nestled between the wide open spaces of Dublin Bay and the mountains.  We have a lot to offer and want to welcome many more visitors in the years to come.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, added:

”As the Taskforce sets out, Dublin is in danger of standing still with its brand becoming a bit stale. Meanwhile, our competitor cities overseas have been reinventing themselves. This report is therefore a very timely wake-up call to our capital.

“Already, many of the key recommendations contained within this report are currently being implemented by Fáilte Ireland and others to reposition Dublin and improve its appeal.  However, it will take more than one tourism organisation and the four local authorities to achieve the potential set out in this report. The success of Dublin as a tourism destination will also be dependent on tourism operators, sports, arts and culture interests and the wider business community working closely together as never before.”

Chasing the right targets

Today’s report states that Dublin needs to differentiate itself as a “must-visit” destination. In view of the growing trend towards more trips of shorter duration - particularly to cities - Dublin must distinguish itself as a stand-alone destination and an aspirational European short-break destination.

The Grow Dublin Taskforce believes that this is where there is a significant opportunity for Dublin if it can communicate the variety and vibrancy of the city’s attractions to potential visitors in key target markets, where return on investment is likely to be greatest.

The Taskforce has identified five sectors that offer the best potential for significant growth and the best return on investment:

• Holidaymakers identified as ‘Social Energisers’ – young couples and adult groups looking for excitement, new experiences, and fun, social getaways to novel destinations;
• Holidaymakers identified as ‘Culturally Curious’ – mostly older couples or solo travellers with time (and money) to spend;
• Business Tourism – where visitor expenditure is amongst the highest of all visitors and who are more prone to visit in times when cash flow for Dublin businesses is critical –  in the shoulder and off-seasons;
• Cruise Tourism - who come to Dublin as part of a European cruise;
• Event Tourism - coming to Dublin specifically to attend an event or festival, whether sporting, cultural, business or any other type of event.

There will need to be a strategic decision across the tourism and business sectors to focus on these sectors, the report finds, if we are to attract to Dublin the best prospects where the greatest return on investment is likely to be generated.

Dublin 2.0 - A new brand for Dublin

The Grow Dublin Taskforce conducted 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, today’s report sets out a new pitch for the city which captures Dublin’s unique appeal for visitors:
‘Dublin is the vibrant capital city bursting with a variety of surprising experiences – where city living thrives side by side with the natural outdoors.’

It is proposed that this proposition should permeate all future communications with target markets and it is envisaged that, eventually, 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 experience developers will use it when designing new projects.

A new way of working

The Grow Dublin Taskforce also clearly identifies that future success will depend on collaboration and cooperation between the various public bodies, industry groups, and service providers with an interest and stake in the tourism economy to an extent that has not happened before.

To facilitate this, a number of plans have been developed by the Grow Dublin Taskforce to achieve significant tourism growth between now and 2020. These include sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes of work.
The sector-specific programmes are designed to address the targeting of the key market segments: Social Energisers, Culturally Curious, ‘promotable’ business tourism, events, and cruise tourism. Cross-sector enabling projects are projects that transcend one or more of the key sectors and are not focused purely on one sector. These include new brand, communications and digital strategies.

Speaking today, Lucy McCaffrey, Chairperson of the Grow Dublin Taskforce emphasised -

“The Taskforce set out to create a blueprint to ensure that tourism to the Dublin Region thrives.  This plan is unusual in that it has its own implementation built in - to the extent that some strands of the strategy are already being implemented.  The proposed new Alliance of those who have a stake in the strategy's success will carry this work forward.”

Details of the report’s proposed next steps for developing Dublin’s tourism industry are outlined in the Executive Summary.

Welcoming today’s report, Richard Guiney, Dublin City Business Improvement District, commented -

“The world is going to change fundamentally over the next 10 years and Dublin is well placed to meet the expectations of the 21st century traveller.  However, we will not reach our potential unless we co-ordinate our offer and message cohesively for the visitor.  It is time to address our short comings and put Dublin firmly in the shop window and make our destination accessible and easily understood to the global audience.  I believe that the energy and imagination created by the Grow Dublin Taskforce will bring us to where we need to be and I look forward to the implementation of the ideas articulated in this report.”

Paul Gallagher, Vice Chairman of Irish Tourism Industry Confederation also said - 

“This report identifies the size of the prize, it’s now up to all stakeholders to work together to achieve that and more.  Through working collaboratively in a cohesive manner Dublin’s opportunities are unlimited.  The Grow Dublin Taskforce report is the launch pad for a new way of working together and realising new potential.”

The Grow Dublin Taskforce

The Grow Dublin Taskforce was established by Fáilte Ireland in late 2012 with the aim of identifying how to bring substantial growth in tourism to Dublin city and region in the period to 2020. This was a senior tourism sector group representing major stakeholders in the public and private sectors. It consulted extensively throughout the tourism sector in Dublin City and Region in order to achieve consensus for the way forward.

The Taskforce conducted extensive research among visitors and potential visitors in key markets to determine their interests and motivations, and to identify the ways in which the Dublin offering addresses them. Based on that research, the Taskforce then set about developing a strategy for growth, underpinned by a new, compelling, and authentic Dublin brand.

This strategy is set out in today’s report and the new proposition will provide the basis for mobilising all stakeholders – public bodies, private enterprise and citizens – in developing and delivering a memorable visitor experience.

The full strategy report can be accessed here

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For further information please contact:

Alex Connolly – Head of Communications
086 7966320/01 8847884

Louise Tolerton - Press Officer
086 6086578/01 8847135

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