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19 Jan 2018

Tourism Ireland sets its sights on another record year for Irish tourism from North America – +7% increase in revenue from 1.93 million visitors in 2018

Tourism Ireland launches 2018 marketing plans in New York

Tourism Ireland in the United States launched its marketing plans for 2018 yesterday (Thursday, 18 January) – at an event in New York attended by leading tour operators, travel agents and journalists from the tri-State area. 

The organisation aims to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2017 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by +7% in 2018 i.e. €1.78 billion generated by 1.93 million visitors (+5%). 

Tourism Ireland will prioritise North America once again in 2018, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. Our important ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences will be targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests. 

Tourism Ireland’s extensive programme of targeted activity for 2018 is already under way in the US. A major TV campaign is running on ABC, NBC, and CBS in five priority markets: New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC. The TV campaign is complemented by extensive digital advertising and social media activity, specially designed to stimulate spring and summer travel. 

And, the outlook for 2018 is very positive, with a number of factors working in our favour – including more airline seats than ever before between North America and Ireland (64,000 seats weekly from 21 gateways), with a number of new flights and expanded services in the pipeline for this year – including new Aer Lingus flights from Seattle and Philadelphia to Dublin.

Speaking at the launch in New York, Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “In 2017, we welcomed a record 1.83 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland. Looking to the year ahead, we are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, a strong dollar, as well as the strength and competitiveness of the vacation experience right around the island of Ireland – will deliver further growth. We look forward to welcoming more of our great friends from the United States this year and in the years to come.

“We have a very clear focus for the year ahead and that is to deliver a +5% increase in visitor numbers and +7% increase in revenue from North America. We will achieve this by working in close collaboration with our Irish and American tourism partners, rolling out an extensive programme of high impact campaigns and promotions which will target those consumers with greatest potential to travel to Ireland.”

In 2017, we welcomed about 1.83 million American and Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland (up +16.7% on 2016), delivering revenue of €1.67 billion for the economy (+14.5% on 2016).  In 2018, Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland in the US, highlighting experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland’s Ancient East, Belfast and Dublin. Screen tourism will also remain a priority, as the organisation continues to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Promotions will grow travel to the regions of Ireland, during the shoulder and off-peak seasons.
  Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America; Elizabeth Crabill and Susan Black, both CIE Tours International; Joan O'Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; and Athar Khan, Delta Air Lines, at the New York launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2018 marketing plans

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 2017, we welcomed approximately 10.65 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.78 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.