2014 is set to be another record year for tourism to the island of Ireland from the United States – that’s according to Tourism Ireland. The organisation is targeting growth of +8% in total American visitor numbers to Ireland this year, including growth of +7% in holidaymakers. Tourism Ireland also aims to win a greater share for Ireland of all travel by Americans to Europe.
A briefing today by Tourism Ireland, on the all-important US tourism market, was attended by the Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland, as well as senior players from the airline sector and the Irish tourism industry. 2013 was a record year for tourism to Ireland from the United States, when we welcomed more than one million American visitors who spent about US$1 billion. And Tourism Ireland aims to keep the momentum going and build on that growth in 2014.
A number of factors are working in Ireland’s favour right now, including improved economic conditions in the US. The Croke Park Classic, which takes place on 30 August, will also provide a further, very welcome boost – with more than 15,000 Americans set to travel here for the highly-anticipated American college football game between Pennsylvania State University and the University of Central Florida. It will undoubtedly be a great event, bringing all the ‘razzmatazz’ of the teams’ college football season opener to Dublin. Tourism Ireland is taking every opportunity to maximise the tourism benefits of the game for Dublin and Ireland – with ads running on ESPN (the hugely popular sports network) this summer, in the run-up to the game.
As well as the extensive and dynamic promotional programme being undertaken by Tourism Ireland this year, another critical factor which will underpin growth is the increase – about +14% – in the number of airline seats between the US and Ireland this summer. This comes on top of a +26% increase in airline seats from the US in the peak summer season last year (which undoubtedly fuelled growth in 2013).
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said:“The United States continues to be one of the strongest markets for tourism to the island of Ireland. 2013 was a record year for American visitors to Ireland – even surpassing our previous best year of 2007. We are determined to ensure the success continues. Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. We are spreading the word about the many great experiences that US holidaymakers can enjoy in Ireland, including our newest visitor experience, the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Given that American visitors stay longer and spend more than the average tourist, the US is a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland’s programme of activity includes an increased focus on digital marketing, heightened priorities on promoting shoulder month travel and a number of new initiatives targeting a younger American traveller. Extensive social media activity has seen Tourism Ireland’s Facebook fanbase in the US grow to almost 650,000.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America; Stuart Dwyer, Chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Catherine Reilly, Managing Director – Ireland, Brendan Tours/The Travel Corp, get ready for the Croke Park Classic, which takes place on 30 August.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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.
• In 2013, an estimated 8 million overseas visitors visited the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, which appears in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.