Commenting on figures published by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland between February and April 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to see the continued strong performance from North America, with today’s CSO figures confirming an increase of almost +26% for February to April. A number of factors are working in our favour, including more airline seats than ever, from more gateways across the US and Canada. Visitor numbers from Australia and Developing Markets for February to April are also really strong, up almost +17%. And arrivals from Mainland Europe grew by over +2% – with important markets like France (+8.6%), Germany (+3.8%) and Spain (+10.4%) continuing to perform well.”
“Building on the success of recent years and sustaining growth into the future is our focus now. The challenge of Brexit is very real and the drop in British visitor numbers (-10.7%) for the February to April period reflects that. We continue to work with our industry partners, to diversify our tourism markets. Some years back, Tourism Ireland identified North America and Mainland Europe as the markets which offer the strongest return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure.
“The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors; and economic uncertainty is undoubtedly making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. This is impacting on travel to Ireland. Therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Tourism Ireland is placing a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. We are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, communicating a strong price-led message to drive home value for money. We will continue to monitor developments around Brexit closely, to better understand and plan for its implications.”
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.