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01 Feb 2017

Tourism Ireland sets its sights on another record year for tourism to the island of Ireland from North America – +9% increase in revenue from 1.7 million visitors in 2017

Tourism Ireland launches 2017 marketing plans in New York

Tourism Ireland in the United States launched its marketing plans for 2017 yesterday (Tuesday, 31 January) – at an event in New York attended by leading tour operators, travel agents and journalists from the tri-State area. 

The organisation aims to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2016 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by +9% in 2017 i.e. €1.6 billion generated by 1.7 million visitors (+6%). 

Tourism Ireland will prioritise North America for 2017, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. Our important ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences will be targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland’s Ancient East, Belfast and Dublin. Screen tourism will also remain a priority, as the organisation continues to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Promotions will grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons.

The outlook for 2017 is very positive, with a number of factors working in our favour – including more airline seats than ever before between North America and Ireland (56,000 seats weekly from 18 gateways), with a number of new flights and expanded services in the pipeline for this year.

Speaking at the launch in New York, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “In 2016, we welcomed a record 1.6 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland. Looking to the year ahead, we are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, a strong dollar, as well as the strength and competitiveness of the vacation experience right around the island of Ireland – will deliver further growth. We look forward to welcoming more of our great friends from the United States this year and in the years to come.”

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “We have a very clear focus for the year ahead and that is to deliver a +6% increase in visitor numbers and +9% increase in revenue from North America. We will achieve this by working in close collaboration with our tourism partners, rolling out an extensive programme of high impact campaigns and promotions which will target those consumers with greatest potential to travel to the island of Ireland.”

In 2016, we welcomed about 1.6 million American and Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland (up +13% on 2015), delivering revenue of €1.4 billion for the economy (+11% on 2015). 
  Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Joan O'Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland's Head of North America; and Christine Kennedy, Delta Air Lines, at the launch of Tourism Ireland's 2017 marketing plans in New York.

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 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.

Previous Press Release

31 Jan 2017

Doing the business for Ireland in Brussels