Commenting on new figures published by the CSO for overseas tourists and overseas tourism revenue to Ireland for January to September 2019, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, "[These] figures from the CSO indicate a mixed picture. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 8.4 million overseas tourists during January-September 2019 – up 1% on the same period in 2018. Tourists from Britain (almost +1%) and mainland Europe (+2%) grew marginally and we saw stronger growth from North America (+4%) and long-haul markets (+6%). However, we've seen growth from North America slow as the year progressed, with numbers for Q3 only down 3%.
"Revenue from overseas tourists in the first nine months of 2019 was almost €4.1 billion. This was flat on the same period in 2018, with spend by North American visitors (+2%) compensating for a decline in spend by tourists from other market areas (Britain -1%, mainland Europe also -1% and long-haul markets -2%). Also, revenue from all holiday-makers (+2%) grew slightly faster than holiday-maker numbers (+1%).
"The figures confirm that 2019 has been a very mixed experience for Irish tourism, with weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some mainland European markets. There's also been a deterioration in air access capacity this year. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors, and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top source markets."
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Gibbons added, "We were pleased that the government allocated an additional €6 million to Tourism Ireland in Budget 2020 in response to the Brexit challenge for Irish tourism. We are using this additional funding for new end-of-year promotional campaigns designed to deliver a message of reassurance to prospective visitors in Britain and elsewhere around the world. It will also include strong kick-start campaigns in Tourism Ireland's key markets at the end of this month to position us well for 2020.
"Last week, we launched our new three year strategy for 2020-2022 and our marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas next year. The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%) by 2022."
© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.