Welcome to Dublin! Why Are Tourists Arriving at Our New [Euro]600m Terminal Greeted with a Bank of Billboards Encouraging Them to Head off over the Border? (but Now Please Head to Northern Ireland)

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Welcome to Dublin! Why Are Tourists Arriving at Our New [Euro]600m Terminal Greeted with a Bank of Billboards Encouraging Them to Head off over the Border? (but Now Please Head to Northern Ireland)


Byline: Warren Swords

NEW arrivals at Dublin Airport are being greeted by giant posters urging them to get out of the Republic and head North.

The North's tourist board has plastered almost 500m of the arrivals corridors in both Dublin Airport terminals with posters. And the message is: 'It's just an hour away.'

There are more than a dozen types of poster, with scenic images of sites such as the Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains. While Failte Ireland believes its work is largely done by the time passengers arrive, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, also known as Discover Northern Ireland, has apparently decided to try and gazump Failte at the last second.

Failte Ireland admitted it would have loved to buy all the advertising space at the new terminal but said the massive costs involved prevented it from doing so.

The Dublin Airport Authority said the North's board was 'piggybacking' on the hard work done by Failte in getting tourists to visit.

A spokesman for the North's board says its expensive campaign was solely aimed at persuading would-be tourists arriving in Dublin to head North, and that the airport is the best place to do it.

Passengers arriving at Terminal 2 walk almost half of a kilometre to passport control before collecting their baggage. Spotting a marketing opportunity, the North's board plastered the entire walkway with stunning images of the northern countryside and the cities of Belfast, Derry and Armagh.

More than a dozen billboard-size adverts line the 450m walkway, the longest in Europe.

For newly arrived tourists looking to explore Ireland, the possibilities offered by the North's board could tempt people to ditch plans to travel around the Republic and head up the M1 instead. While there is a tourism desk at Terminal 1, it is staffed by the cross-border tourist body, Discover Ireland, which aims to promote tourism for the entire island. Terminal 2 is still waiting for a tourism desk and does not have a single poster promoting tourism in the Republic.

A spokesman for the North's board said it spotted a great opportunity to entice tourists, so it invested heavily in the campaign. In fact, it is so happy that it plans to keep the posters in place for a year, and jokes that even Failte Ireland staff will be convinced to take a holiday across the border.

The spokesman said: 'We thought it was an excellent opportunity to promote Northern Ireland and absolutely believe it will work - that's why we spent quite a bit of money investing in the airport. …

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