Revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by +6.5% during 2017, an additional €292 million for the Irish economy compared with 2016. This is according to the latest figures released today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The figures show that total overseas visitor numbers increased by +3.5%; and within the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland, holiday visitors grew by +8% during 2017 – 322,000 additional holiday visitors.
Tourism Ireland are particularly pleased with the continued strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +16.3% and an increase of almost +14% in spending by US and Canadian visitors. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy has prioritised North America as a market which offers strong return on investment. Ireland has also seen growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (almost +5%) and long-haul markets, including Australia (almost +13%).
However, Tourism Ireland say the decline in visitor numbers from Britain continues to be a concern (-4.6% in 2017). The organisation believe that the fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks in Ireland more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of Ireland's top markets.
Speaking this week, CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons said, "Our focus now is very much on 2018. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue this year by +5%, to €6 billion, for the island of Ireland. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost over the coming days, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day, which is bigger and better than ever before. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we intend to take every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile."