The latest figures released today by the CSO show that Irish tourism recorded its best ever May, with 943,300 arrivals to the island, representing a 7% increase on the same month last year
Visitors numbers also increased by 3% for the first five months of 2017 compared to last year, with an additional 107,800 tourists travelling to Irish shores during the period encompassing January to May.
Commenting on the figures, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: "It is encouraging that this was the best ever month of May for Irish tourism. Particularly welcome is the continued strong performance from North America, with an increase of 23.6%. Visitor numbers from Australia and developing markets for the first five months of 2017 are also really strong, up 21.7%. And arrivals from Mainland Europe grew by 4%, with important markets like France, Germany, Spain and Italy continuing to perform well."
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Gibbons added: "As anticipated, the currency challenge for Irish tourism is very real and the drop in British visitor numbers (-6.8%) for the January to May period reflects that. The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors, and economic uncertainty is undoubtedly making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. This is impacting on travel to Ireland. Therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Tourism Ireland is placing a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. We are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, communicating a strong price-led message. We continue to monitor developments around Brexit closely to better understand and plan for its implications."