Commenting on figures published today (Thursday January 25) by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January to December 2017, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “Today’s figures confirm that 2017 was another record-breaking year for overseas tourism to Ireland, with almost 10 million people arriving here – an increase of almost +4%, or 347,700 additional overseas visitors, when compared with 2016.
“We’ve seen exceptional results from North America in 2017 – more than 2.1 million visitors, up over +16% on 2016. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. We have also seen record numbers arriving here from Australia and developing markets (almost +13%); and from Mainland Europe (+5%), with important markets like Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordic Region all recording really good growth. Increases in direct air access, plus our market diversification strategy, have been key factors.
“The decline in visitor numbers from Britain continues to be a concern, down -5% in 2017. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. In 2018, Tourism Ireland will continue to place a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. However, competitiveness and the value for money message remain more important than ever in Britain right now.
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“Our focus now is on the year ahead. Tourism Ireland’s campaigns are in full swing, to build on the success of 2017. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2018 by +5%, to €6 billion, for the island of Ireland.”