Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that Ireland's tourism industry has had a strong performance for the first half of 2016 with a 13% growth in overseas visitors, keeping it on track for a record-breaking year.
Compared to the same period last year, there has been an additional half a million visitors to the country, with this growth coming from Ireland's main markets of Britain, North America and Mainland Europe. Discussing what contributed to this success, Tourism Ireland referred to its global campaigns which reached 200 million people, a strong online and social media presence, and of course the role box office hit 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' played in bringing Skellig Michael and The Wild Atlantic Way to the attention of the world.
Speaking about the strong performance, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said: “The quality of our overseas marketing has helped to ensure that interest in visiting Ireland remains high among potential visitors in our top source markets, and continued investment by government in tourism developments like The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air is helping to capture the imagination of potential visitors across the world and to keep Ireland in the international spotlight.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, added: “Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. I am also really pleased to see visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest market, increase by +16% for the first half of 2016.”
To sustain and build on this growth for the rest of 2016, Tourism Ireland plan on undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world, as well as maximising the introduction of a number of new air routes.