Fresh battle plan to lure UK tourists after Brexit

Tourism Ireland is set to unveil a new strategy to lure holidaymakers from the UK as it risks crashing out of the European Union with no deal and putting its economy in peril.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons refused to be drawn on the details of the new battle plan, but said it would be reviewed by the agency’s board in the first week of February and launched at the end of next month – four weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU.

Plans are already being implemented for new border control infrastructure at Irish ports – key gateways for long-stay visitors to Ireland from the UK, for instance.

“We have to see how things unfold first of all,” Mr Gibbons told the Irish Independent.

“We have been monitoring the situation with regards to Brexit since the UK voted to leave the EU.

“We have a UK-based Brexit taskforce. We’ve carried out three waves of research by RedC, and another one going into test this week – we’ll have the results in early February. That will take account of whether current dialogue is impacting on people’s holiday intentions, or not.”

Mr Gibbons said weak sterling has been a concern for Tourism Ireland in its efforts to attract more visitors from the UK.

“Currency is something we’re very concerned about, because that immediately hits the bottom line,” Mr Gibbons said. He added the new Tourism Ireland strategy for the UK will take into account issues there at the moment.

“It’s very much consumer focused, it’s very much about maintaining and trying to grow our share,” he said.

“It’s a very competitive market in Britain. We’ve been through many ebbs and flows over the years and this is another one we’ll just have to deal with, but this situation is fluid at the moment and we just have to see how things unfold.”

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