This year has officially been the best year ever for overseas tourism to Ireland, with 10.5 million visitors contributing more than €5.4 billion in revenue to the economy, up by 11% and 10% respectively from 2015.
Growth has come from all international markets, with the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia all having record performances for the year.
Highlights of Tourism Ireland's promotional activities around the world in 2016 include Ireland’s Ancient East, a Richard E Grant Wild Atlantic Way campaign across the UK, a Game of Thrones campaign that reached 61 million people, Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, a special Star Wars campaign, and its annual Global Greening initiative on St Patrick's Day.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O'Donovan TD, said: "2016 looks set to be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Ireland – surpassing all previous records. The latest CSO figures confirm that almost 8.3 million people visited Ireland in the first ten months of 2016. That’s an amazing +11.6% increase by the end of October, or an additional 858,000 visitors on top of last year’s record. Good growth has been recorded from all our markets. Overseas tourism has contributed over €3.6 billion to the economy for the first nine months of 2016, which is a year-on-year increase of +9.4%. This is helping to sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities around the country."
Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: "We are heading into 2017 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2016. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland around the world next year, highlighting iconic experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Dublin and Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones."