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13 Jan 2017

Taoiseach lends a hand to promote Ireland in Spain

Tourism from Spain to Ireland set to hit 400,000 visitors in 2017

Spain is now Ireland’s 5th most important tourism market 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been in Madrid this week, to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Yesterday (12 January), he met with Tourism Ireland staff, as well as leading Spanish tour operators and airlines who programme and sell holidays to Ireland. 

Spain is an important market for tourism to the island of Ireland. Travel by Spaniards to Ireland has grown significantly over the past 15 years – going from just 90,000 Spanish visitors in 2000 to a record 340,000 visitors in 2015. And 2016 was another record-breaking year, with estimated visitor numbers up +12%, to 380,000. 

Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and will roll out a busy programme of promotions right throughout 2017; the organisation is targeting growth of +4% in Spanish visitors to Ireland this year. Factors working in our favour include strong air connectivity, with a significant increase in the number of direct flights to Ireland over the past few years; and interest in visiting Ireland remains high among Spanish travellers, with Spaniards consistently ranking Ireland in their ‘top ten’ destinations to visit. Also, more than 20% of all Spanish visitors to Ireland arrive in the off-season or Q4 – a real opportunity to win business at a time when there is capacity here in accommodation and other tourism facilities.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “2016 is set to be the best year ever for Spanish visitor numbers to Ireland, with the latest CSO figures showing growth of over +12% for the January to September period. Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive programme of promotional activity once again throughout 2017. We will work closely with our tourism partners – at home and in Spain – to build on the growth of the past few years.”
  An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Trevor Martin, Iberia Express; Joanne Murphy and Niall Gibbons, both Tourism Ireland, in Madrid.

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 a record 18 million visitors in 2016.

Previous Press Release

11 Jan 2017

Tourism ‘goes Dutch’!