Commenting on today’s CSO figures for the first quarter of 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Despite strong growth in visitor numbers from North America (+13%) and from long-haul markets including Australia (+16%), a decline of -7% in British visitors has led to an overall drop of -1% in overseas visitors to Ireland in the first quarter of 2017. As anticipated, the challenge of Brexit for Irish tourism is very real and we’re beginning to see the impact of currency changes in today’s CSO results – which confirm a decline of -1% in revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland in the first three months of 2017, including a decline of almost -8% in revenue from British visitors. Holidaymakers are up from North America (+16%), Mainland Europe (+6%) and from long-haul markets (+37%) but down from Britain (-15%).”
Niall Gibbons continued: “It’s more competitive than ever before in the international marketplace. The movement of sterling versus the euro and dollar, since the UK referendum on Brexit, makes Great Britain a more competitive destination for visitors from Mainland Europe and the United States. We have observed our competitors – VisitBritain, VisitScotland and VisitWales – intensifying their operations across all of Ireland’s major tourism markets to capitalise on this. Therefore, competitiveness and our value for money message are more important than ever right now.
“Tomorrow (Thursday, 15 June), I will lead a delegation of senior Irish tourism industry representatives to London for a roundtable meeting with key players in the British travel trade. We will discuss how Tourism Ireland and the tourism industry can best respond to the challenges posed by Brexit.
“As we head into the high season, Tourism Ireland has a really comprehensive promotional programme under way around the world, working in close co-operation with industry partners across the island of Ireland, as well as with a wide range of international tour operators and with major air and sea carriers. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit 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 10.3 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.