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14 Mar 2018

Tourism Ireland welcomes +6.5% growth in spend by overseas visitors and +8% growth in overseas holiday visitors in 2017

Commenting on today’s CSO figures for 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s CSO figures are very positive, confirming that revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by +6.5% during 2017, an additional €292 million for the Irish economy compared with 2016. Total overseas visitor numbers increased by +3.5%; and within the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland, holiday visitors grew by +8% during 2017 – 322,000 additional holiday visitors.”

“Particularly welcome is the continued strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +16.3% and an increase of almost +14% in spending by US and Canadian visitors – an outstanding performance. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy has prioritised North America as a market which offers strong return on investment. We have also seen growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (almost +5%) and really strong growth from our long-haul markets, including Australia (almost +13%).

“The decline in visitor numbers from Britain continues to be a concern (-4.6% in 2017). The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. This year, Tourism Ireland will continue to focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever right in Britain now.

“Our focus now is very much on 2018. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue this year by +5%, to €6 billion, for the island of Ireland. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost over the coming days, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day, which is bigger and better than ever before. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we intend to take every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile.”


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.