Welcoming the CSO figures issued today for overseas visitor numbers to Ireland for the period January-July 2011, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “The growth in overseas visitor numbers of almost +12% for the first seven months of the year is good news for everyone in the tourism industry. Visits from Great Britain, our largest and most important market, increased by +9.3% during this period; from North America by +13%; from Mainland Europe by +13.7%; and from Australia and developing markets by +18%.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “These figures represent a welcome return to growth in overseas tourism and a positive January-July period, even accounting for the poor weather and volcanic ash disruptions that characterised the early part of 2010. Industry sentiment, while still mixed, generally reflects this more positive picture although the distribution of visitors is somewhat uneven and some areas have performed better than others.
“With continuing economic uncertainty in many of our key overseas markets and intense competition from other destinations, Tourism Ireland is working flat out to keep the island of Ireland ‘top of mind’ with potential holidaymakers everywhere. Our autumn campaign is in full swing across the globe, designed to capitalise on late booking trends. Given that the period September-December traditionally yields as much as 30% of our overall tourism business, there is still everything to play for. People are increasingly opting for shorter holiday breaks, and autumn/winter is a popular time. In association with our industry colleagues we have enticing autumn offerings, developed around festivals and themes such as food, music, literature and the arts.”
Overseas tourism has a critical role to play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% (approximately €3.1 billion) of all tourism revenue and has the capacity to deliver even more for Ireland as part of an export-led economic renewal. Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, contributing in excess of 4% of GNP and providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout the island.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 6.7 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.