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06 Sep 2017

CSO figures for overseas visitors in H1 reflect challenge of Brexit

North American visitors outspend British in first half of 2017

Commenting on today’s CSO figures for the first half of 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to see growth in overall overseas visitors revenue of +7% in the period January-June this year, driven by +3.4% growth in overseas visitors. Particularly welcome is the continued strong performance from North America, with an increase of +20.9% in visitors and +16.5% in revenue.  This means that spending by North American visitors to Ireland has outpaced British visitor spend in the first half of the year. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy has prioritised North America as a market which offers  strong return on investment. We have also seen good growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (+4.1%) and exceptionally strong growth from our long-haul markets including Australia (+20.4%).

“However, the decline in visitor numbers  from Britain continues to be a real concern. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and, at the same time, made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets.  While we can see the impact of currency changes in today’s CSO results, which confirm a decline of -6% in British visitors in the first half of the year, revenue from the market has held up somewhat better.  This year, Tourism Ireland has placed greater focus on ‘culturally curious’ visitors from Britain, who stay longer and spend more, because they are less impacted by currency fluctuations. However, competitiveness and value for money messages are more important than ever right now.

“Earlier this week, we announced Tourism Ireland’s extensive autumn campaign, to promote late season holidays and boost travel into the early part of 2018. On the back of an increasingly strong access picture, we are rolling out a really comprehensive promotional programme around the world. We are 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. Next month, I will also lead another delegation of Irish tourism industry leaders to London for roundtable meetings 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 plan for 2018 and beyond.”

 

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 281,000 people across the island.
  • 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.