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13 Mar 2019

Tourism Ireland welcomes +6% growth in spend by overseas visitors and +11% growth in overseas holiday visitors in 2018

Commenting on today’s CSO figures for 2018, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s CSO figures are very positive, confirming that revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by almost +6% during 2018, an additional €275 million for the Irish economy compared with 2017. Total overseas visitor numbers increased by +6%; and within the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland, holiday visitors grew by +11% during 2018 – 525,000 additional holiday visitors.

“Particularly welcome was the continued strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +13% 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 strong growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (+10%) and from our long-haul markets, including Australia (+7%). While visitor numbers from Britain increased by +1%, spend by British visitors declined by -2.6% – reflecting currency fluctuations and the continued uncertainty around Brexit, which remains a real concern.

“Tourism Ireland’s new Fill Your Heart with Ireland campaign is rolling out around the world, to build on the success of 2018. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost this weekend, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day which is even bigger and better than ever before – with 425 sites in 53 different countries signed up to take part. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we will be taking 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 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, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 20+ million visitors in 2018.