Commenting on the final CSO figures issued today about overseas visitors to Ireland in 2012, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to see growth of almost +4% in holidaymakers to Ireland last year, driven by a strong performance from France and Germany, and of +7.7% in business visitors. I am particularly pleased to see an increase of +4.5% in revenue generated for the Irish economy by those visitors – an encouraging sign as our extensive programme of promotional activity for 2013 is now in full swing around the globe.
“Our promotions received a tremendous boost last weekend, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day – which was bigger and better than ever before – truly capturing the imagination of people everywhere. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we took every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile. The saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media – from Sydney to Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro to Toronto and from Cape Town to Cairo – was an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive for 2013.
“Our extensive promotional programme spans Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia, as well as developing markets such as China, India and South Africa – with The Gathering Ireland and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture providing wonderful opportunities for us to shine a spotlight on the island of Ireland everywhere this year.”
Overseas tourism has a critical role to play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% (almost €3.5 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 almost 4% of GNP and providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout the island.