Commenting on figures published today by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January and February 2018, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO confirm that overseas visitor numbers increased by almost +8% in the first two months of 2018, around 84,700 additional overseas arrivals when compared with January-February 2017.
“We’ve seen strong results from Mainland Europe, up +17.6% on January-February last year, with particularly strong performances from Germany (+30.5%), Italy (+40%) and Spain (+6%). Arrivals from North America grew by +4.2%, an extra 7,000 US and Canadian visitors. Ireland now welcomes over 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations.
“While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up +4% for the first two months of 2018, this doesn’t represent a turnaround in the long-term trend. The impact of Brexit on outbound travel from Britain, therefore, remains a concern. 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. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever in Britain this year.
“Looking to the upcoming summer season, the air and sea access picture is very positive – with increases in the number of airline seats from Britain, Mainland Europe, North American and long-haul markets. We particularly look forward to seeing the impact of new long-haul flights on Irish tourism this summer – including the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing and the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, both due to begin in June. In terms of ferry services, there will be an almost doubling of the number of sailings and capacity between Mainland Europe and Ireland this year.
“Tourism Ireland’s campaigns are now in full swing around the world. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2018 by +5%, to €6 billion, for the island of Ireland.”
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 www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.