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Destination marketing has assumed heightened importance in the tourism industry as destinations are confronted with increasing competition from new and emerging countries. Kolter et al (1993) employ the term ‘place wars’ to describe the cutthroat nature of modern tourism. Consumer profiles and preferences are constantly changing and this has implications for Irish tourism. In terms of development, the tourism industries in both the North and South of Ireland have reached a crossroads and to remain competitive they must diversify their product.This paper examines the opportunities that exist for the island of Ireland in one of the world’s fastest growing niche markets - sports tourism. The first section provides an update on Ireland’s tourism performance and establishes the need for diversification and niche marketing. The second section analyses the sport tourism market from an Irish perspective and stresses the importance of promoting local sport as part of both the sport tourism portfolio in its own right and its contribution to the cultural tourism product.The paper then deals specifically with the tourism potential of Gaelic games and how they could be developed into an attractive and marketable tourism product. In order to establish whether there is a latent demand for Gaelic games a survey was carried out on a sample of overseas visitors and the results are discussed in the paper. Given the positive response to the questionnaire the final section of this paper focuses on strategies that could be adopted by the GAA, Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to manipulate the cornerstone of marketing - the 4-P’s - to develop, package, and promote Gaelic Games as a sports tourism product.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-32
JournalThe Irish Journal of Management (Special Issue).
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2005


  • Sports Tourism
  • Culture
  • Diversification
  • Product Development and Marketing


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