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Mid-year Review of Overseas Tourism 2014

Published on Aug 14 2014 2:13 PM in General Industry

Mid-year Review of Overseas Tourism 2014

At a briefing today, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, joined Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, for a review of the CSO tourism figures for the first half of the year, the contributing factors to these figures and where they plan to go from here.

The CSO tourism figures for the first half of 2014 confirm growth of 10.3 per cent in overseas visitors to Ireland - an additional 324,400 visitors when compared with January to June 2013 - bringing the number of visits to over 3,469,100.

The growth from our main tourism market areas around the world breaks down as follows:Britain                     +13.6 per cent North America        +10.6 per centMainland Europe    +06 per centGermany                +18 per centSpain                      +22 per centItaly                        +04 per centOther Areas           +13.6 per cent

Contributing Factors to Success

The tourism numbers have not increased all by themselves. There are a number of factors at play all year round which have ensured that we have managed to increase our tourism numbers.

The first factor is global advertising. Tourism Ireland’s global advertising campaign will reach an estimated audience of some 200 million prospective visitors worldwide this year.

The strong online and social media presence also contributed to the increase in numbers. Tourism Ireland continues to leverage its strength in digital and social media. The organisation is now the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook, with more than 2.25 million fans; the number two tourism board on Twitter; and the number two tourism board on YouTube.

External factors such as air access are also beneficial. The introduction of a number of important new routes from our main markets to Ireland this year has been a significant contributing factor to the growth. As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.

The positive publicity about Ireland generated abroad plays a part. Each year, Tourism Ireland invites influential travel and lifestyle journalists from around the world to visit the island of Ireland, helping to generate positive publicity about Ireland in the international media worth about €260 million.

Finally, government initiatives have their own part to play. Positive measures introduced by the Government have included the Visa Waiver Scheme, a reduction in VAT and 0 per cent air travel tax.

Sustaining and Building on the Growth

Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that overseas tourism growth continues. The organisation is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world which includes a focus on the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture and the Croke Park Classic, when 20,000 American football fans are expected to descend on Dublin for their college football season opener (University of Central Florida v Penn State), on 30 August.

Tourism Ireland will also maximise the introduction of new year-round and winter air routes, to grow tourism in the shoulder and off-seasons.

A busy autumn promotional schedule will include sales missions to China, Australia and New Zealand; ‘Jump into Ireland’ travel trade and media blitz in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle; ‘Flavours of Ireland’ – targeting long-haul markets through UK inbound tour operators and World Travel Market, London – the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am delighted to report growth of 10.3 per cent in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first half of 2014.

“I am particularly pleased to see visitor numbers from Great Britain increasing by 13.6 per cent for the first half of this year. 2014 is also set to be another record year for tourism from North America, with growth of 10.6 per cent recorded for the first six months of this year. And it is very encouraging to see growth from other important tourism markets – including Germany, Spain, Italy, and our long-haul markets. This reflects the sentiment expressed by our industry partners, including carriers and tour operators overseas, as well as tourism enterprises here at home.”

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