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11 Mar 2020

Tourism Ireland comments on CSO figures for overseas tourism in 2019

~ Covid-19 presents unprecedented challenge for Irish tourism in 2020 ~

Commenting on today’s CSO figures for 2019, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO confirm a mixed picture for 2019, with an increase of +1% in total overseas visitors to Ireland during 2019 – an additional 80,000 overseas visitors when compared with 2018. However, revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland in 2019 declined by -1%. Tourists from Britain grew marginally (+1%), from Mainland Europe by almost +3% and from long-haul markets by +5%. However, North America saw a decline of -3% in 2019.”

Niall Gibbons continued: “Our focus now is very much on 2020. The outbreak and spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) is having a significant impact on travel and presents an unprecedented and extremely serious situation for Irish tourism. 2020 was already going to be a challenging year for tourism, with issues like Brexit and the delayed delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft; Covid-19 is an extremely serious development which is affecting all of our key source markets.

“We are in daily contact with our tourism industry partners and we know that they are reporting significant cancellations and very few new bookings. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are reviewing our promotional activity on a market by market basis and on a daily basis. Tourism Ireland will be ready to roll out an extensive kick-start programme, when the time is right.”

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 2019, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of almost €5.8 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 23+ million visitors in 2019.