Official CSO figures for the first half of 2017 confirm growth of 4.2% in overseas visitors to Ireland, 182,000 arrivals more than the record first half of 2016.
The figures were revealed at the mid-year review of overseas tourism, by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., and Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons. The growth has come from North America, Mainland Europe and Australia and developing markets.
As anticipated, the decline in the value of sterling is reflected in British visitor numbers to Ireland – which are down 6.4% for the period. Minister Ross and Niall Gibbons outlined what has contributed to the tourism growth so far this year, and what will help build on the growth and address the areas of decline to year end and into 2018.
Positive contributions to the growth thus far has included a number of successful global marketing campaigns, an increase in summer air access directly into Dublin, and the popularity of TV shows and Hollywood films partly recorded in Ireland (including Star Wars and Game of Thrones).
Minister Ross said: “It is a concern, but not a surprise, that the number of visits from Britain has fallen in the early part of the year as a result of the sterling depreciation following the Brexit referendum. There is no doubt that competitiveness in our tourism industry is vital at this time.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We have seen an exceptional performance so far from North America – up 21.6% on the first half in 2016, making it another record year. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations.”