Commenting on figures published today by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January to August 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures confirm that we welcomed 6,714,600 overseas visitors during the period January to August this year. This represents growth of +2.5% – or 161,800 additional visitors – on the same eight-month period last year, coming on the back of a record performance in 2016 and years of solid growth in overseas tourism.
“North America and our long-haul markets continue to perform very well. Arrivals from North America are up +17.9% for January to August; and visitors from Australia and Developing Markets grew by +16.9% in the same period. Arrivals from Mainland Europe also grew by +3.2%. Increases in direct air access, plus our market diversification strategy, have been key factors.
“However, the decline in visitor numbers from Britain continues to be a real concern, down -7.1% for the January to August period. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. Economic uncertainty is also making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending, which is impacting on travel to Ireland. This year, Tourism Ireland has placed a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. However, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now.
“Tourism Ireland’s extensive autumn campaign is in full swing, to promote late season holidays and boost travel into the early part of 2018. We are rolling out a really comprehensive promotional programme in Britain and around the world right now.”
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 over 280,000 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.