Tourism Ireland today reflected on highlights of its promotional activity around the world this year. 2013 was a strong year for overseas tourism, with eight million visitors (up seven per cent) contributing €3.64 billion in revenue to the economy.
Growth has come from all market areas, with the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia turning in record performances. Highlights have included The Gathering Ireland and Tourism Ireland’s ‘global greening’ initiative on St Patrick’s Day.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to report an increase of over seven per cent in visitor numbers, over 2012. Growth has been recorded from all our market areas and 2013 will be a record year for visitor numbers from North America, Germany, France and Spain, as well as from our long-haul markets including Australia and New Zealand.
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“We are particularly pleased with the performance from the United States – by the end of 2013, we will have welcomed one million American visitors, spending US$1 billion. The British market, which has proved challenging over the last few years for economic reasons, has also seen growth in visitor numbers in 2013 (seven per cent), which is also encouraging. In late 2013, we conducted our largest-ever sales mission to China and established representation in Brazil and Russia for the first time ever.”
Earlier this month, Tourism Ireland launched its marketing plans to promote Ireland in 2014 and beyond, with ambitious targets to welcome 8.9 million visitors per year by 2016, including almost 4.3 million holidaymakers (an added 15 per cent over 2013).
Commenting on the plans for the next three years, Gibbons said: “Following a successful 2013, ambitious targets have been set for 2014-2016. Next year, we will place a major focus on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, 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.”
Announcements – by both air and sea carriers – for 2014 augur well for the continued success of overseas tourism. These include:
- New Aer Lingus flights from San Francisco, Toronto, Mainland Europe and Great Britain;
- New Irish Ferries sailings from Holyhead and Cherbourg;
- Ryanair’s expansion from Mainland Europe and Great Britain;
- Westjet’s new flight from Newfoundland in Canada;
- A new LD Lines sailing from St Nazaire (on the west coast of France) and Gijón (northern Spain) to Rosslare.