Welcoming figures published by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland in 2016, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures confirm that 2016 was a record-breaking year for overseas tourism to Ireland, with almost 9.6 million people arriving here – an increase of +10.9%, or 941,300 additional overseas visitors, when compared with 2015. I am delighted to report that growth was recorded from all of our markets around the world, with exceptional results from North America (+19.4% on 2015). Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. We have also seen record numbers arriving here from Mainland Europe (+8.5%); and I also welcome the continued strong performance from Britain (+10.6%), our largest market for overseas tourism.
“Our focus now is on the year ahead. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland around the world throughout 2017, highlighting iconic experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Dublin and Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2017 by +4.5%, to €5.7 billion, for the island of Ireland.”
Speaking about some of the challenges 2017 may present, Niall Gibbons said: “Since the EU referendum in the United Kingdom, Tourism Ireland has been monitoring developments closely, to better understand and plan for the implications of Brexit. Tourism Ireland believes that the adverse impact of Brexit can be mitigated through a combination of aggressive overseas marketing and the continuation of existing successful wider policy initiatives. In 2017, Tourism Ireland will continue to implement its market diversification strategy; the organisation intends to maximise holiday revenue through investment in Mainland Europe and North America. The depreciation of the pound against the euro since the UK referendum on Brexit means that value for money will be a key message for us in Britain this year. The good news is that access from Britain to Ireland remains strong – with 237,000 airline seats and 45,000 car spaces on ferries available each week. We will continue to work with our industry partners, at home and in Britain, to highlight the ease of getting to the island of Ireland.”
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 www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.