General Industry

Tourism Ireland Looks Back On 'Record Year' For Irish Tourism

By Dave Simpson
Tourism Ireland Looks Back On 'Record Year' For Irish Tourism

2018 has been the best year ever for overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, with revenue generated by international visitors amounting to around €6.1 billion (+10% on 2017), delivered by 11.2 million visitors, according to Tourism Ireland, which this week is reflecting on the highlights of its promotional activity around the world over the past 12 months.

Tourism Ireland's promotional initiatives in 2018 included campaigns for regional Ireland, Dublin and Belfast as well as the organisation's annual Global Greening initiative on St Patrick’s Day and marketing surrounding Game of Thrones and Star Wars filming locations.

An Important Industry

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin stated, "2018 looks set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Ireland. The latest CSO figures indicate that the number of overseas visitors to our shores continues to grow, as does the revenue generated by them. The tourism sector supports approximately 260,000 jobs in communities all across the country, therefore the importance of the sector cannot be overstated. Revenue generated by tourism reaches all parts of the country, bringing much needed jobs and income to areas with otherwise limited economic activity. Our focus going forward is to ensure that we continue to grow in a sustainable way and to further build on the success that the regions have experienced through initiatives such as the ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘The Call of the Wild’. The Tourism Action Plan 2019 to 2021, which is due to be published by my department shortly, will outline some key actions which will underpin the continued growth of the sector in coming years, as will the additional funding secured for the sector in Budget 2019. The continued growth in tourism over the last number of years is testament to the great work being done all across the sector and I want to congratulate Tourism Ireland on another very successful year."

Programme Of Promotions

Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, "Throughout 2018, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. A major focus of our activity was Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin, the Wild Atlantic Way and Northern Ireland. Other important themes have included screen tourism and, in particular, Game of Thrones and Star Wars.”

2019 Plans

Last month, Tourism Ireland launched its marketing plans to promote Ireland in 2019, with a target to grow overseas tourism revenue by 6% to €6.5 billion for the economies north and south next year.


Tourism Ireland’s new "Fill your Heart with Ireland" global campaign will launch over the coming week in the US, Britain, France and Germany and from January 2019, it will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe. The campaign will feature less visited attractions and locations, and aims to attract visitors all year round.

Aiming For Continued Success

Commenting on the year ahead, Gibbons asserted, "We are heading into 2019 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2018. Working with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism NI and our tourism partners, our aim is to spread this success throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland, ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.

"Our new campaign, 'Fill Your Heart with Ireland', presents Tourism Ireland with a great opportunity to drive continued growth to the regions next year and to encourage visitors to travel off-peak. It will feature locations that have been less visited by overseas visitors and will also highlight outdoor activities like cycling, walking and kayaking. We are confident that our new campaign will set the island of Ireland apart from our competitor destinations and help deliver another record year for overseas tourism in 2019."

© 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.