Overseas visits to Ireland were up by 7.8% for first seven months of 2018, compared to the same period last year, according to new data released by the CSO.
The figures show that just over six million overseas visitors arrived to Ireland during the period extending from January to July of this year. This represents a 436,000 rise in visitor number compared to the same period in 2017, with most of the growth coming from Europe (+212,000) and North America (+157,000).
British visitors to Ireland increased 2.5% to 2.14 million over the seven month period, while North American visitors grew by 13.5% to 1.3 million and visitor numbers from mainland Europe rose 10.6% to 2.21 million, with both German (+20%) and Italian (+15.5%) visitor numbers growing strongly. Visitors from all other areas (368,000) grew by 4.1%.
Factors Supporting Robust Growth
Commenting on the new statistics, Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly said, “This continued excellent growth in visitor numbers shows how the combined actions of current government policy - including a competitive VAT rate and zero airport tax - along with Fáilte Ireland’s regional brands like the Wild Atlantic Way and strong international marketing by Tourism Ireland, are all working exceptionally well in terms of supporting robust growth for tourism.
“In order to sustain this growth in the face of the significant risks that Brexit brings, we need to maintain this strategy and reinvest some of the extra €100 million that tourism will contribute to tax revenue this year alone, on top of the €1.7 billion it contributed last year. This funding will allow us to further develop our tourism offering and spread the benefits across all regions.
“[These] figures also show continued success in the way that tourism businesses are diversifying into other key markets, which is very good news in terms of managing risk, but it does mean we need both public and private sector investment in building our language and cultural capabilities in order to provide the big ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ to these diverse visitors.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.