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11 Dec 2019

Tourism Ireland comments on CSO figures for January-September 2019

~ Figures show underlying weak trend, reflecting market conditions ~

Commenting on figures published by the CSO today for overseas tourists and overseas tourism revenue to Ireland for the first nine months of 2019, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO indicate a mixed picture. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 8.4 million overseas tourists during January-September 2019 – up +1% on the same period in 2018. Tourists from Britain (almost +1%) and Mainland Europe (+2%) grew marginally and we saw stronger growth from North America (+4%) and long-haul markets (+6%). However, we’ve seen growth from North America slow as the year progressed, with numbers for Q3 only down -3%.
“Revenue from overseas tourists in the first nine months of 2019 was almost €4.1 billion. This was flat on the same period in 2018 – with spend by North American visitors (+2%) compensating for a decline in spend by tourists from other market areas (Britain -1%, Mainland Europe also -1% and long-haul markets -2%). Also, revenue from all holidaymakers (+2%) grew slightly faster than holidaymaker numbers (+1%).
“The figures confirm that 2019 has been a very mixed experience for Irish tourism, with weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets. There’s also been a deterioration in air access capacity this year. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors – and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top source markets.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “We were pleased that the Government allocated an additional €6 million to Tourism Ireland in Budget 2020 – in response to the Brexit challenge for Irish tourism. We are using this additional funding for new, end-of-year promotional campaigns – designed to deliver a message of reassurance to prospective visitors in Britain and elsewhere around the world. It will also include strong kick-start campaigns in Tourism Ireland’s key markets at the end of this month, to position us well for 2020.
“Last week, we launched our new three year-strategy for 2020-2022 and our marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas next year. The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%), by 2022.”

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 almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+5% on 2017), delivering revenue of €5.86 billion (+5%).
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.