Decline in tourist numbers in month of July is a concern
Commenting on figures published today by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January to July, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures confirm that we welcomed almost 5.6 million overseas visitors during January to July 2017. This represents growth of +3.1% on the same seven-month period last year, coming on the back of a record performance in 2016 and years of solid growth in overseas tourism. However, we are extremely conscious of the decline in tourist numbers we’ve seen for the month of July alone (-1.1%).
“As anticipated, the currency challenge for Irish tourism is very real and the drop in British visitor numbers (-6.2%) for the January to July period reflects that. The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors; and economic uncertainty is undoubtedly making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. This is impacting on travel to Ireland. Therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Tourism Ireland is placing a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. We are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, communicating a strong price-led message.
“And, while North America and our long-haul markets continue to perform well, the double-digit growth we’ve seen in the earlier months of 2017 has now slowed. Arrivals from North America are up +17.4% for January to July (almost +4% for July only); and visitors from Australia and Developing Markets grew by +17.5% for January to July (+7% for July). Arrivals from Mainland Europe grew by +4.3% (-2% for July).”
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 281,000 people across the island.
- In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.3 billion.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.