Million Euro Midlands: New tourism brand gets €1m to coax us off the motorways
Ireland's Hidden Heartlands gets its consumer launch with a €1 million domestic advertising campaign
Fancy getting 'active in nature'? How about lining up a 'soft adventure' for your next staycation?
Ireland's Hidden Heartlands are 'Yours to Uncover', according to a domestic tourism campaign launching this week.
The country's newest tourism region, which sits alongside the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland's Ancient East and Dublin: A Breath of Fresh Air in Fáilte Ireland's "family of brands", aims to draw more visitors off the motorways and into the midlands.
To that end, €1 million is being spent on ads revolving around the creative concept of 'Yours to Uncover' - on TV, outdoor, radio and digital media.
The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 will also broadcast live from key locations in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands every day next week (from Monday, July 9).
- Read more about Ireland's Hidden Heartlands
The campaign is part of a broader, €2 million investment in 'Ireland's Hidden Heartlands', the development of which will be steered by a soon-to-be-announced Head and a locally-based team of five Fáilte Ireland employees.
There is no dedicated website or social media channels as yet, however - with visitors encouraged to visit discoverireland.ie for information.
'Ireland's Hidden Heartlands', first announced this April, sprawls over parts of several counties along the River Shannon from Leitrim to Lough Derg.
Both Ireland's longest river and the Beara-Breifne Way walking trail are "central spines" of the brand, and potential visitors can expect to see ads zero in on 'active in nature" themes such as lakes, rivers and blueways in the region.
"The brand’s appeal also very much lies in its offer for visitors to get away from the stresses and pressures of modern life and to experience the tranquillity of rural Ireland," said Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Marketing, Niall Tracey.
Tracey says Ireland's Hidden Heartlands has been "incredibly well received" by the tourism industry, although there have been quibbles with its geography, which overlaps in certain areas with Ireland's Ancient East, and omits Co. Laois entirely.
The brand name and logo were developed following research involving over 10,000 consumers in Ireland, US, UK, Germany and France.
What next for Ireland's newest tourism brand?
After rolling out the concept and initial marketing, the focus will turn to developing the region - building products and experiences like food trails, or walking hubs along the Beara Breifne Way, that will encourage visitors to spend more time in the midlands.
Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland are also working on a Shannon Master Plan under a Strategic Partnership agreement aimed at driving tourism opportunities both on and off the water, and in the towns surrounding it.
Ireland's Hidden Heartlands "will need to evolve over time to realise its full potential", says Paul Keeley, Fáilte Ireland's Director of Commercial Development.
"The area has some strong assets and Fáilte Ireland is already working closely with key partners and communities across the region to begin developing the top-class visitor experiences that will be key to its success,” he added.
Read more:Ireland's Hidden Heartlands: Top 10 things to do in Ireland's newest tourism region