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14 Aug 2014

Mid-year review of overseas tourism 2014

Strong first-half performance of +10.3% growth is springboard for further success

Official CSO figures for the first half of 2014 confirm growth of +10.3% in overseas visitors to Ireland, an additional 324,400 additional visitors when compared with January to June 2013. At today’s mid-year review of overseas tourism for 2014, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, confirmed that this growth has come from all four market areas around the world (Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and Other Areas). They outlined what has contributed to this success and, more importantly, what will sustain and build on the growth to year end and into 2015.

Speaking at the mid-year review of overseas tourism, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am delighted to report growth of +10.3% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first half of 2014, an additional 324,400 visitors when compared with January to June 2013.

“I am particularly pleased to see visitor numbers from Great Britain increasing by +13.6% for the first half of this year. 2014 is also set to be another record year for tourism from North America, with growth of +10.6% recorded for the first six months of this year. And it is very encouraging to see growth from other important tourism markets – including Germany (+18%), Spain (+22%), Italy (+4%) and our long-haul markets (+13.6%). This reflects the sentiment expressed by our industry partners, including carriers and tour operators overseas, as well as tourism enterprises here at home.”


Summary of the first half of the year:
CSO figures for the first half of 2014 confirm growth of +10.3% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first half of 2014, an additional 324,400 additional visitors when compared with January to June 2013.

•    This represents growth from our four market areas around the world:
o    Britain                +13.6%            
o    North America        +10.6%
o    Mainland Europe        +6%
-    Germany        +18%
-    Spain            +22%
-    Italy            +4%
o    Other Areas            +13.6%

Six-month comparison shows strong bounce-back
•    A comparison of overseas visitor numbers for the first half of 2014, against the same period in 2008 (the previous record year for overseas tourism to the island of Ireland) shows that North America, Mainland Europe and Australia and Developing Markets have all exceeded the 2008 six-month record, by the end of June 2014 (North America +23%; Mainland Europe +1%; and ADM +35%).  

•    While Britain still lags the 2008 record performance level, this market is now recovering steadily, with +13.6% growth recorded in the first six months of 2014, on top of a +6% increase in 2013.

•    A comparison against the first half of 2010 shows very significant increases from all market areas (including Britain +20%; North America +43%; Mainland Europe +40%; and ADM +57%). This progress augurs well for the future growth of overseas tourism to Ireland.

What has contributed to our success?
•    Global advertising reaches 200 million people: Tourism Ireland’s global advertising campaign will reach an estimated audience of some 200 million prospective visitors worldwide this year.         
•    Strong online and social media presence: Tourism Ireland continues to leverage its strength in digital and social media. The organisation is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook, with more than 2.25 million fans; the number three tourism board on Twitter; and the number two tourism board on YouTube.
•    Air access: the introduction of a number of important new routes from our main markets to Ireland this year has been a significant contributing factor to the growth. As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.
•    Positive publicity: each year, Tourism Ireland invites influential travel and lifestyle journalists from around the world to visit the island of Ireland, helping to generate positive publicity about Ireland in the international media worth about €260 million in equivalent advertising value (EAV).
•    Government initiatives: positive measures introduced by the Government – regarding VAT on tourism services, the air travel tax and visas – have helped our industry to address the issue of competitiveness and have made it easier for tourists from a wide range of new and developing markets, including some of the fastest-growing markets like China and India, to include Ireland in their travel plans, making Ireland a real contender for this business for the first time.

What will sustain and build on the growth?
•    Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that overseas tourism growth continues. The organisation is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world which includes a focus on the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture and the Croke Park Classic, when up to 20,000 American football fans are expected to descend on Dublin for their college football season opener (University of Central Florida v Penn State), on 30 August.

•    Tourism Ireland will also maximise the introduction of new year-round and winter air routes, to grow tourism in the shoulder and off-seasons.

•    A busy autumn promotional schedule will include:
o    Sales mission to China
o    Sales mission to Australia and New Zealand
o    ‘Jump into Ireland’ travel trade and media blitzes in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle
o    ‘Flavours of Ireland’ – targeting long-haul markets through UK inbound tour operators
o    World Travel Market, London – the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar

Niall Gibbons continued: “We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. We are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world throughout 2014 which includes a focus on the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener, on 30 August. We will shortly launch an extensive global autumn campaign, to boost business in the off-peak season and carry the growth momentum into 2015.”

 

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, we welcomed an estimated 8 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of almost €4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.

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