16.2% rise in revenue from overseas visitors contributing to recovering economy – Donohoe & Ring 

17th September, 2015

CSO figures published today (Thursday) confirm strong growth in revenue figures from overseas visitors for the first six months of the year. The Tourism and Travel statistics from the CSO show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) for the first half of 2015 rose by 16.2% compared with the same period in 2014. The data also shows that the number of trips to Ireland in the key target market of holidaymakers rose by 20.3%, while spending by holidaymakers was up 34.5% for January to June of 2015 when compared with the same period in 2014.


Commenting on the figures, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, stated: ‘The statistics published by the CSO today show that overseas earnings continue to increase in tandem with visitor numbers which have been on an upward curve for over four years. These revenue figures confirm yet again that tourism is continuing to generate significant economic activity. The Government’s Tourism Policy ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ acknowledges that generating increased levels of overseas revenue is key for the future of Irish tourism. The Government’s ambition is that overseas tourism revenue will reach €5 billion by 2025.


“Of course the market does not wait for anyone and therefore I was pleased to have recently launched Tourism Ireland’s Autumn Campaign which will help us maximise business for the rest of the year and maintain momentum into 2016. With a view to the longer term, the recently established Tourism Leadership Group has already held two meetings. This Group will drive the targets set out in the policy statement and work is on-going on a three year action plan to ensure that we maintain this very strong tourism performance.”


The figures confirm strong growth in the number of holiday trips taken by overseas visitors to Ireland, and an increase in visits to friends and relatives. In terms of the spend associated with overseas visits, all of Ireland’s main markets grew strongly in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014:-


  • Revenue associated with visitors from Great Britain grew by 8.4%
  • Revenue associated with visits from North America grew by 33.7%
  • Revenue associated with visits from Mainland Europe grew by 14.9%
  • Revenue associated with visits from New and Developing Markets (long haul) grew by 2.6%


The figures are based on detailed surveys of overseas visitors and the CSO release also contains detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bednights.


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, added: ‘We were already aware that the number of visits from January to July increased by over 12%. These figures confirm that the growth in visitor numbers is leading to a greater spend in our economy. Our tourism agencies are working hard to maintain these strong levels of growth and Tourism Ireland’s Autumn campaign will highlight the many festivals and events which our visitors can enjoy in the final months of the year – from Culture Night this coming Friday to the Dublin Theatre Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, Bram Stoker Festival, Cork Jazz Festival and many more. Along with the Wild Atlantic Way and the development of Ireland’s Ancient East our visitors can look forward to so much to see and do should they choose a late break in Ireland’.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s CSO figures are really strong, confirming that holiday visitors from overseas grew by +20% in the first half of 2015, with growth recorded from all of our market areas around the world. And, more importantly for the Irish economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by +16% during this period, an additional €253 million compared with the first six months of 2014. Total overseas visitors in the first half of 2015 also grew by +12%, or an additional 378,000 visitors. This was an excellent first half and reflects the sentiment we are hearing from our tourism industry partners overseas and here at home. We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. We are rolling out a really extensive autumn campaign – aimed at boosting late-season travel to Ireland from around the globe and keeping this momentum going. The period September to December usually yields as much as 30% of our annual overseas tourism business’.

Welcoming today’s figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: ‘As expected, all our key markets are delivering extra visitors and revenue as benign currency exchange rates help boost the sector’s performance. This is very much to be welcomed but we must guard against complacency. We need tourism growth to be ‘ever-green’ and not cyclical. While we cannot influence currency rates or the global economy, we must continue to focus on those factors within our control. For tourism businesses, that means that they must remain competitive and continue to provide value for money to visitors in order to sustain the fantastic tourism growth we are witnessing today’.