Commenting on new figures published by the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January to March 2018, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “[The] figures from the CSO confirm that overseas visitor numbers increased by almost 7% in the first quarter of 2018, around 124,500 additional overseas arrivals when compared with January-March 2017.
“We’ve seen really good results from Mainland Europe, up almost 14% on January-March last year, with particularly strong performances from Germany (+30.6%), Italy (+18.3%) and Spain (+5.4%). North America also continues to perform well – with arrivals up over 13% for the first three months of the year, an extra 38,300 US and Canadian visitors. Tourism Ireland has prioritised mainland Europe and North America, as markets which offer a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure.
“While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up very slightly, this doesn’t represent a turnaround in the long-term trend. The impact of Brexit on outbound travel from Britain, therefore, remains a concern. 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. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever in Britain this year.
“Looking to the upcoming summer season, the air and sea access picture is very positive – with increases in the number of airline seats from Britain, mainland Europe, North American and long-haul markets. We particularly look forward to seeing the impact of new long-haul flights on Irish tourism this summer – including the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing and the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, both due to begin in June. In terms of ferry services, there will be an increase in the number of sailings and capacity between mainland Europe and Ireland this year.
“Tourism Ireland’s campaigns are now in full swing around the world. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2018 by 5% to €6 billion for the island of Ireland.”
© 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.