Tourism Ireland expects 2018 to be a bumper tourist season

Published on : Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ireland TourismAccording to the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC, ‘Star Wars’ filming on Skellig Michael was worth an estimated €40m in advertising to Ireland.

It coincides with more than 200,000 additional visits from North American tourists. This has compensated for a 7pc (200,000) drop in visits from the UK, which is a direct consequence of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The Irish tourism industry is now worth €8.9bn annually, with €6.5bn of this coming from overseas visitors. ITIC chief executive Eoghan O’Mara-Walsh expects an increase of 5pc in tourism numbers next year and a rise of 7pc in the value of tourism to the Irish economy. North American tourists are also expected to increase in Ireland.

“It [‘Star Wars’] certainly helped,” Walsh said. “In the last couple of weeks with the new ‘Star Wars’ movie and Skellig Michael, there’s been an awful lot of coverage of the western coast and the Wild Atlantic Way.”

“That’s the sort of coverage and exposure that money can’t buy. I think it’s about €40m, the estimated advertising value of that, so it’s very, very positive,” he added.

A special advertising campaign has already been launched for fully cashing in on Ireland’s connection to ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. ITIC wants stronger marketing campaigns in order to attract UK tourists.

Tourism Ireland expects a bumper tourism season in 2018 thanks to the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ancient East campaigns, along with the knock-on effect of ‘Star Wars’.

“It is set to be another record year for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records; by year-end, 10.65 million people will have visited the island of Ireland, spending €5.78bn,” Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland said.


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