New Tourism Ireland Strategy Targets 23% Growth In American Visitors By 2021

By Dave Simpson
New Tourism Ireland Strategy Targets 23% Growth In American Visitors By 2021

The United States offers considerable potential for Irish tourism, according to a new Tourism Ireland strategy launched today (January 31) by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD.

The strategy aims to build on recent success and to anticipate the various opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. It sets out ambitious targets which will see the island of Ireland welcome 2 million American visitors per year by 2021, representing growth of 23%, and will see revenue generated by American holidaymakers increase by 33%, to €1.37 billion per year.

The United States is the second-largest market for tourism to Ireland and in 2017 the country welcomed a record 1.83 American visitors. In fact, there was growth of 60% in American holidaymakers to Ireland and 70% in revenue from American holidaymakers in the period 2012-2016. This was driven by an increase in the number of direct flights and positive macro-economic conditions, as well as strong and effective sales and marketing.

Griffin said, “As we reflect on 2017, which was another record-breaking year for Irish tourism, it is important that we also look to the future and strive to establish new and innovative ways of growing the tourism sector further. It is vital that we continue to invest in tourism marketing and I want to compliment Tourism Ireland on their new marketing strategy for the US market, which sets out ambitious, but achievable growth targets. We must be mindful of the market research which shows that value for money is important to US tourists; therefore retaining our competitiveness will be crucial. I have no doubt that this new marketing strategy will build on the very strong performance we have enjoyed from the United States in recent years.”

Meanwhile, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, commented, “The United States has performed exceptionally well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years. We are aware that continuing to deliver the level of growth seen in recent years will be challenging, as the competitive environment is becoming increasingly crowded. But, we also know that this is a market with a strong affinity with Ireland and we believe that it can yield good growth in the years ahead. However, in order to unlock that growth, we will have to do some things differently; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities. I am confident that our new, focused strategy will deliver on the challenging targets we have set for growth in American visitors, between now and 2021.”

The new strategy has been developed in close co-operation with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI, as well a wide range of industry partners, in Ireland and in the United States. It has identified the market segments and opportunities which will drive strong growth from the US to the island of Ireland over the coming four years.