Tourism Ireland Launches 2013 Marketing Plans

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Tourism Ireland Launches 2013 Marketing Plans
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29 Nov 2012

North America and Mainland Europe hold the key to tourism growth next year, according to Tourism Ireland, as it launched its marketing plans for 2013 today. The plans will see visitor numbers to the island of Ireland increase by +5% to 7.6 million in 2013, contributing €3.7 billion (+6%) to the economies, north and south.

2012 looks set to be one of the strongest years ever for visitors from North America to Ireland (since the previous high of 2007, when we welcomed over one million visitors). And, with the number of airline seats from the United States to Ireland set to grow by +20% for the summer of 2013, Tourism Ireland believes this is a market of considerable potential. A new three-year plan – “Make Ireland Jump Out” – will be rolled out in the US in 2013. It aims to increase the number of American visitors by +20% between 2013 and 2015 and to win a greater share of all travel by Americans to Europe.

Mainland Europe is also an increasingly important market for Irish tourism, now delivering even more holidaymakers and revenue than Great Britain. For 2013, Tourism Ireland aims to welcome almost 2.5 million European visitors (an increase of +4.4%). The organisation’s resources will be prioritised in the two key markets of Germany and France – followed by Italy, the Nordics, Spain and the Netherlands. And a new strategy for Great Britain, our largest tourism market – “GB Path to Growth” – will be implemented, to grow the number of British holidaymakers by +20% i.e. an additional 200,000 holiday visitors per year by 2016.

Details of Tourism Ireland’s brand new website Ireland.com were also unveiled at today’s event. The new site, which will go live in time for January 2013, will appear in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. It has been completely redeveloped to provide a transformed web experience for potential holidaymakers around the world. It has been specially designed to capitalise on the huge importance of the internet in planning and booking holidays today and to harness the phenomenal growth in social media. A new domain name for the site, Ireland.com, with its ease of recognition and memorability, will ensure greater ‘stand-out’ for the destination around the world and deliver savings in promotions and search engine optimisation (SEO) activity.

Australia and emerging tourism markets also look set to experience a record year in 2012 – thanks in part to improved access, with more air routes than ever before via the Middle East providing good connectivity from Australia, China and India. For 2013, Tourism Ireland will continue its successful strategy of working with airlines, the travel trade and industry partners, as well as influential media in those markets – highlighting ease of access, the visa waiver scheme and the many compelling reasons to visit Ireland. A combined UK and Ireland visa has the potential to deliver additional growth from these markets.

The major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotions next year will be The Gathering Ireland 2013, the biggest and most ambitious tourism-led event ever held in Ireland. Tourism Ireland will promote The Gathering throughout the year to the 70 million people across the world who feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “Tourism is central to Government plans for economic recovery. Shortly after the election we brought in a range of measures to support the sector, including a special tourism VAT rate of 9%. Next year, Ireland will host the biggest single tourism event ever held in Ireland, The Gathering Ireland 2013. Everybody in Government, Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland is leaving no stone unturned to reach our ambitious target of 325,000 extra visitors next year. With the support of the wider community at home and abroad, I am confident we can deliver growth of over 5% in overseas visits next year, with the knock-on benefits in terms of revenue and jobs in every part of the country.”

2012 performance
Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 7.27 million people will have visited the island in 2012, generating revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2012 has been something of a mixed year, with Dublin and other cites, as well as the tourism ‘honeypots’ doing quite well, but with rural and outlying areas finding the going harder. Visitor numbers from North America and long-haul markets like Australia look set to reach or even exceed the records levels of 2007. The performance of Mainland European markets has also been quite strong. However, visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest tourism market, have been disappointing, with a flat economy and weak consumer confidence having a significant impact on travel by Britons throughout the year.”

Global Connections for Tourism Growth: 2013 and beyond
Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2013 will see the island of Ireland welcoming 7.6 million visitors, representing growth in visitor numbers of + 5% over 2012. Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “2013 is about setting us back on a path of sustained growth in the continuing difficult climate. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the pace of economic recovery in our key source markets, we believe that our marketing activity around the globe in 2013 can deliver a +5% increase in visitor numbers, with North American and Mainland Europe representing significant potential. The Gathering Ireland presents an unprecedented opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on Ireland around the world. And we will continue to work closely with our tourism partners, both at home and overseas, to achieve our common objectives and help drive economic regeneration.”

Tourism Ireland Launches 2013 Marketing Plans
improving internet connection
Image by infomatique
29 Nov 2012

North America and Mainland Europe hold the key to tourism growth next year, according to Tourism Ireland, as it launched its marketing plans for 2013 today. The plans will see visitor numbers to the island of Ireland increase by +5% to 7.6 million in 2013, contributing €3.7 billion (+6%) to the economies, north and south.

2012 looks set to be one of the strongest years ever for visitors from North America to Ireland (since the previous high of 2007, when we welcomed over one million visitors). And, with the number of airline seats from the United States to Ireland set to grow by +20% for the summer of 2013, Tourism Ireland believes this is a market of considerable potential. A new three-year plan – “Make Ireland Jump Out” – will be rolled out in the US in 2013. It aims to increase the number of American visitors by +20% between 2013 and 2015 and to win a greater share of all travel by Americans to Europe.

Mainland Europe is also an increasingly important market for Irish tourism, now delivering even more holidaymakers and revenue than Great Britain. For 2013, Tourism Ireland aims to welcome almost 2.5 million European visitors (an increase of +4.4%). The organisation’s resources will be prioritised in the two key markets of Germany and France – followed by Italy, the Nordics, Spain and the Netherlands. And a new strategy for Great Britain, our largest tourism market – “GB Path to Growth” – will be implemented, to grow the number of British holidaymakers by +20% i.e. an additional 200,000 holiday visitors per year by 2016.

Details of Tourism Ireland’s brand new website Ireland.com were also unveiled at today’s event. The new site, which will go live in time for January 2013, will appear in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. It has been completely redeveloped to provide a transformed web experience for potential holidaymakers around the world. It has been specially designed to capitalise on the huge importance of the internet in planning and booking holidays today and to harness the phenomenal growth in social media. A new domain name for the site, Ireland.com, with its ease of recognition and memorability, will ensure greater ‘stand-out’ for the destination around the world and deliver savings in promotions and search engine optimisation (SEO) activity.

Australia and emerging tourism markets also look set to experience a record year in 2012 – thanks in part to improved access, with more air routes than ever before via the Middle East providing good connectivity from Australia, China and India. For 2013, Tourism Ireland will continue its successful strategy of working with airlines, the travel trade and industry partners, as well as influential media in those markets – highlighting ease of access, the visa waiver scheme and the many compelling reasons to visit Ireland. A combined UK and Ireland visa has the potential to deliver additional growth from these markets.

The major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotions next year will be The Gathering Ireland 2013, the biggest and most ambitious tourism-led event ever held in Ireland. Tourism Ireland will promote The Gathering throughout the year to the 70 million people across the world who feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “Tourism is central to Government plans for economic recovery. Shortly after the election we brought in a range of measures to support the sector, including a special tourism VAT rate of 9%. Next year, Ireland will host the biggest single tourism event ever held in Ireland, The Gathering Ireland 2013. Everybody in Government, Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland is leaving no stone unturned to reach our ambitious target of 325,000 extra visitors next year. With the support of the wider community at home and abroad, I am confident we can deliver growth of over 5% in overseas visits next year, with the knock-on benefits in terms of revenue and jobs in every part of the country.”

2012 performance
Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 7.27 million people will have visited the island in 2012, generating revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2012 has been something of a mixed year, with Dublin and other cites, as well as the tourism ‘honeypots’ doing quite well, but with rural and outlying areas finding the going harder. Visitor numbers from North America and long-haul markets like Australia look set to reach or even exceed the records levels of 2007. The performance of Mainland European markets has also been quite strong. However, visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest tourism market, have been disappointing, with a flat economy and weak consumer confidence having a significant impact on travel by Britons throughout the year.”

Global Connections for Tourism Growth: 2013 and beyond
Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2013 will see the island of Ireland welcoming 7.6 million visitors, representing growth in visitor numbers of + 5% over 2012. Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “2013 is about setting us back on a path of sustained growth in the continuing difficult climate. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the pace of economic recovery in our key source markets, we believe that our marketing activity around the globe in 2013 can deliver a +5% increase in visitor numbers, with North American and Mainland Europe representing significant potential. The Gathering Ireland presents an unprecedented opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on Ireland around the world. And we will continue to work closely with our tourism partners, both at home and overseas, to achieve our common objectives and help drive economic regeneration.”

Service orientation
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Early computer programs were written as sets of instructions, like recipes: First do this, then that, if the user does this, then do this; otherwise, do that, and so on. This worked just fine for simple programs. But software tends to get more complex over time. When programs reached about a million lines of code, they hit a complexity ceiling and started to break. And as software and systems were connected with other systems, the number of dependencies and interconnections increased to the point where the tangled web of interdependent functions was impossible to modify or adjust in one place without breaking something somewhere else.

In the 1960s, computer researchers started to code modular, reusable building blocks instead of procedural instructions. Computer pioneer Alan Kay named the approach, calling it object-oriented programming:

“I thought of objects being like biological cells… only able to communicate with messages,” he later explained.

Object orientation allowed programmers to design software as a system of interacting objects instead of a list of instructions. They could modify a single object without worrying about complex interdependencies. Each object could be seen as an independent machine with its own roles and responsibilities within a larger system.

Object-oriented programming was primarily used inside large enterprises, and not so much for interactions between companies. But the advent of the internet added another layer of challenge and complexity – as well as opportunity. Suddenly it was feasible for software to exchange information not only within the business, but between a business and its partners, suppliers and customers.
The next phase in programming’s evolution, service orientation, emerged to solve this problem. It delivered a way for software objects to interconnect with each other over the internet, at a massive scale.

Software services are very similar to software objects. They are modular functional units that can operate independently and interact with other services using an agreed-upon set of common standards. The big move forward comes from the way that they interact with the larger world. In service orientation, technologists have now agreed to a set of standards that allow any service to interact with any other service, over the web, regardless of the service’s underlying technology.
Services can be made available over the web or any other network. They can be made available to the general public, or to a defined set of authorized users. The power of a service-oriented architecture is that each service can learn, adapt and coevolve without wreaking havoc on the overall system, just like species coevolve in a biological community.

Three principles for the core of service-oriented design: service contracts, composability, and loose coupling.

Service contracts:

A service contract is a simple description of the service, including what the service provider needs from customers, what it will do for them, and any rules about how the service provider and customer will interact. Like any business contract, it represents an agreement.

Business examples abound. The contract doesn’t need to be specified in writing as long as both parties understand the agreement. For example the service contract of a fast-food restaurant is different than a sit-down restaurant. The agreement is that customers will stand in line and order by number in exchange for faster service. If you sit down at a table in a fast-food restaurant and wait for a server to come and take your order, you will be waiting a long time. The reason fast-food works is that providers and customers both understand the promise of the service and agree to work together in a certain way.

A service contract specifies what the provider will do, but it doesn’t specify how the work will be done.
The advantage of this is that a service can hide its internal complexity, and even change the way it operates, as long as it continues to keep the promise of its contract. This is important because it allows the service to independently evolve and improve its operations without affecting customers or other services. A service can be as complex as it likes internally, so long as it provides a simple contract describing what it does and how it will interact with its customers.

Most services have some kind of complexity that is invisible to customers. For example the kitchen and dishwashers in a restaurant are not usually visible to diners, and most stores have areas such as storerooms and shipping/receiving docks that are not obvious to customers. The iOS operating system that powers iPhones and iPads hides a lot of internal complexity. There are no files or folders. There are only apps that you access to do things. Amazon customers don’t have to know anything about Amazon’s warehouses or distribution systems. They just order on the website and sign for the package when it arrives.
The reason to hide complexity is that it makes a service easier to understand and use. Since customers see only the things they can act on, make decisions about or buy, they can make better, faster choices.

Composability:

Most services are combinations of other services.

For example, any kind of food service, from a vending machine to a five-star restaurant, must provide a few core services: it must be able to take orders. It must be able to take payments. It must be able to store and deliver it to customers. Every food service must make decisions about how it will do each of these things, and how it will combine these services with other services to deliver value to customers.
Common standards make services more useful by making them connectable and composable, so they can be easily combined into larger services.

For example, consider a restaurant with a bar and a kitchen. When they use a common ordering system they can work together more effectively. Wait staff can easily access both the bar and kitchen services, and the total charge can show up on one bill. This means the larger service works better, and it’s more convenient for the customer. At the same time, the bar and kitchen services are separate in the sense that they are not dependent on each other – they can exchange information, but each can also operate independently of the other. If the bar shuts down people can still order food, and vice versa.

Loose coupling:

Loose coupling simply means that services agree to use a set of common set of rules about how to connect. So as long as a service follows the rules, it can update, change or modify itself without having to worry about the impact on other services in the system.

Web pages, for example, are loosely coupled, because one web page can link to another without knowing anything about the other page, beyond its address and the rules for connection, which in this case is HTTP, the protocol common to all web pages.

The opposite of loose coupling is tight coupling, where elements on both sides must be designed to complement and fit one another. For example, most mobile phone companies have a unique interface for attaching the charger to the phone. There’s really no benefit to customers in this. The primary reason is so they can sell more chargers. This is why you have a drawer full of perfectly-good chargers that are useless to you or anyone else.

But there can be good reasons for tight coupling. Things that are designed to work closely together can deliver better performance, more efficiently. For example, most of the components of your car are tightly coupled, because each part is designed to fit smoothly and integrate with every other part. You can’t take a door, or an engine, out of a Honda and attach it to a Ford, at least, not easily.

But your car is loosely coupled with many other elements in the road-and-car system, and for good reason. For example, when you pull into a gas station to fill up your tank, you don’t have to worry about whether the pump nozzle will fit, because there is a standard for that. If you need to put air in your tires, you don’t have to worry about whether the air hose will fit your tires, because there is a standard for that. Cars are tightly coupled internally but loosely coupled with the overall system that they operate in.
Service-oriented architecture works in the same way. Internally, a service can be as complex as it wants to be, just like your car. But when it needs to interoperate with the larger system, it follows a common set of rules.

Standards can be proprietary and closed, such as Apple’s iOS, Microsoft Windows, and Facebook’s application development platform, which are provided and managed by a single company; or they can be open, like HTTP and TCP/IP, which govern web interactions, and the electrical sockets in your home. Open standards are defined and managed by technical communities, or sometimes they just evolve naturally over time, like the standard for the width of cars and roads, which can be traced back to the width or Roman roads, which was determined by the width of the two horses it took to pull a Roman chariot.

Regardless of whether the standards are open or closed, it is the number of people and businesses that have adopted them that make them valuable. The more that have adopted the standard, the more valuable it is.

Service contracts make services simple, modular, understandable and easy to access, like building blocks. Composability makes services combinable and connectable. Loose coupling is the standardized interfaces and connections that make it all work.

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