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Published on : Thursday, August 10, 2017
Official CSO figures for the first half of 2017 confirm growth of +4.2% in overseas visitors to Ireland, 182,000 arrivals more than the record first half of 2016. At today’s mid-year review of overseas tourism, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, and Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, confirmed that this growth has come from North America, Mainland Europe and Australia and Developing Markets. As anticipated, the decline in the value of sterling is reflected in British visitor numbers to Ireland – which are down -6.4% for H1. Minister Ross and Niall Gibbons outlined what has contributed to the tourism growth so far this year and, more importantly, what will help build on the growth and address the areas of decline to year end and into 2018.
Speaking at the mid-year review of overseas tourism, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said: “I am very encouraged by the overseas visit figures for the first half of 2017. Following the strong growth in recent years, it was always going to be a challenge to grow the numbers further this year, and so the growth of +4% in visit numbers in the first half of the year is significant. It is a concern, but not a surprise, that the number of visits from Britain has fallen in the early part of the year as a result of the sterling depreciation following the Brexit referendum. There is no doubt that competitiveness in our tourism industry is vital at this time.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am pleased to report growth of +4.2% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first half of 2017, an additional 182,000 visitors when compared with January to June 2016. We have seen an exceptional performance so far from North America – up +21.6% on the first half in 2016, making it another record year. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations.
“It has also been the best ever first-half performance from Mainland Europe (almost +6%), with important markets like Spain, Germany, France and the Nordic Region all recording really good growth. I am also really pleased to see visitor numbers from Australia and Developing Markets increase by +20.6% for the first half of 2017.
“Regarding the British market, the decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive, which is in turn impacting on Irish tourism, as evidenced by the latest CSO results – which confirm a decline of -6.4% in British visitor numbers to Ireland for the first half of 2017. Therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Tourism Ireland is placing a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. We are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, communicating a strong price-led message.”