Sunday 25 August 2019

Airport dismisses 'totally false' claims it targets tourists arriving in the North

'Aggressive strategy needed': DUP MP Ian Paisley. Photo: Albert Gonzalez/
'Aggressive strategy needed': DUP MP Ian Paisley. Photo: Albert Gonzalez/

Mark Bain

Dublin Airport has dismissed as "totally false" claims by Ian Paisley MP that it is aggressively targeting tourists arriving in Belfast.

Chief communications officer Paul O'Kane said it was "ludicrous" to suggest that the airport's marketing campaign is aimed at visitors arriving in Belfast.

Speaking at a Westminster committee earlier this week, Mr Paisley accused Dublin Airport of unfairly targeting customers north of the Border and challenged tourism bosses in Northern Ireland to "put it right back in their face".

The DUP MP suggested that 70pc of Dublin Airport's marketing budget was spent in Northern Ireland and that visitors arriving there should be told "you've come to the wrong part of the island - you need to be up North".

Writing in yesterday's 'Belfast Telegraph', the DUP MP called for tourism bosses to retaliate through "an aggressive marketing strategy that buys up the advertising opportunities around Dublin Airport and its surrounds and unashamedly points people who arrive there to head North".

But Mr O'Kane said: "Dublin Airport's advertising in Northern Ireland is aimed at Northern Ireland residents and is focused on promoting our unrivalled connectivity and the quality of our airport experience. Mr Paisley's claim about the marketing budget is totally false and without any basis in reality. It is ludicrous to suggest that our marketing is aimed at visitors arriving in Northern Ireland by air."

Mr O'Kane also said Dublin Airport would continue to support the tourism industry north of the Border.

As co-founder of advertising company Lyle-Bailie, David Lyle was responsible for some of Northern Ireland's most famous TV adverts.

He said Mr Paisley's call for Northern Ireland to aggressively target visitors arriving in Dublin was a step too far.

Mr Lyle, who spent nine years on the board at Tourism Ireland, a position he was nominated for by the DUP, said: "The reality is tourism is not a North versus south industry."

Irish Independent

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