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13 Dec 2017

Tourism Ireland welcomes +5% growth in spend by overseas visitors and +2.5% growth in overseas visitors for January-September 2017

North American visitors outspend British in first nine months

Commenting on today’s CSO figures for the first nine months of 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to see growth in overseas visitor revenue of +5% in the period January-September this year, driven by +2.5% growth in overseas visitors. Within the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland, holiday visitors grew by +6% – that’s 218,000 additional holiday visitors. 

“Particularly welcome is the continued strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +19% and an increase of almost +17% in spending by US and Canadian visitors – an outstanding performance. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy has prioritised North America as a market which offers strong return on investment. We have also seen growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (+2.4%) and exceptionally strong growth from our long-haul markets, including Australia (+16.7%).

“The decline in visitor numbers from Britain continues to be a concern (-6.5% in the first nine months of the year). The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and, at the same time, made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. This year, Tourism Ireland has placed a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience in Britain, because they are less impacted by currency fluctuations. However, competitiveness and value for money messages remain more important than ever right in Britain now.

“We’ve just launched our marketing plans for 2018, which will see us build on this year’s growth to deliver €6 billion (+5%) in overseas tourism revenue to the island of Ireland, by welcoming 10.8 million visitors.”

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.
  • By the end of 2017, we will have welcomed approximately 10.65 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.78 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.