According to new figures released today by the CSO, the total number of trips to Ireland between January and March 2014 totalled 1,342,500, up 7.3% or 97,820.
On the back of this increase, the Department of Tourism believes that the country is on course to meet its targets of 4% more visitors to the country, year-on-year, and 8% more tourism revenue.
In the first three months, traffic from Britain was up 11.5%, German tourist numbers were up 13.5%, Spanish numbers increased 15.5%, and the number of Italians visiting these shores rose by 13.1%.
There was a 6% hike in visitors from the US, with tourism from the rest of the world, outside Europe and the US, up 17.5%.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said the figures suggest the country is “on target to grow visitor numbers again in 2014, and build on the success of the Gathering”.
The total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the period fell by 4.6% to 1,153,500.
Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons welcomed the figures. “I particularly welcome the increase in British visitor numbers of 11% for the first quarter,” he said.
“Today’s figures represent a very positive start to 2014, as we roll out our promotional programme around the world to keep the momentum going and build on the success of 2013. This year, we are placing a major focus on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture, the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener. We will also build on the legacy of the Gathering, continuing to reach out to the diaspora across the world.”