Commenting on figures published today by the CSO for overseas arrivals to Ireland for January-March 2019, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO indicate that overseas arrivals increased by +5.5% in the first quarter of 2019, around 106,100 additional arrivals when compared with January-March 2018. However, it is early days yet – arrivals for the first quarter represent around 18% of total annual arrivals and growth in the month of March alone has slowed to +3.3%.
“Arrivals from North America grew by almost +11% in the first three months of 2019, an extra 35,700 US and Canadian visitors. We’ve also seen good results from Mainland Europe, up +7.6%, with particularly strong performances from France and Spain. Visitor numbers from Australia and emerging tourism markets increased by almost +7%. While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up +1.4% for January-March 2019, we know that the Brexit extension will continue to cause uncertainty for the summer season; however, we will continue to monitor the British market closely, working in conjunction with our British-based Brexit Taskforce.
“Looking to the upcoming summer season and the air access picture, there will be a +3% increase in number of airline seats available, down from the original estimate of +6%. A range of factors in the marketplace have contributed to this decline, including poor yields and stiff competition across Mainland Europe. We welcome the additional hotel capacity, which is facilitating growth; however, competitiveness remains key as we head into the peak season. Tourism Ireland’s new ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’ campaign is rolling out around the world. And, our largest-ever sales mission to China will take place next month, with 26 companies participating in the four-city sales blitz, to capitalise on additional air access and awareness of Ireland. Our aim is to grow overseas visitor numbers and revenue to the island of Ireland again in 2019.”
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 around 325,000 people across the island.
- In 2018, we welcomed around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+6% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €6.1 billion (+10%).
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 20+ million visitors in 2018.