2014: Confirmation of an outstanding year for tourism – Donohoe

28th January, 2015

2014 was the best year on record for visitors from North America and Mainland Europe


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the publication of official data on overseas travel for 2014 from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 618,500 (8.9%)  in overseas visits to Ireland for 2014 compared to 2013. There were a total of 7,604,400 visits to Ireland in 2014.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The figures published by the CSO today confirm that 2014 was another excellent year for the Irish tourism industry and the fourth consecutive year of growth. To increase our overseas numbers by a further 8.9% following the year of the Gathering in 2013 is a great tribute to everybody involved in Irish tourism. In fact, today’s release confirms that 2014 was the best year on record in terms of the numbers visiting Ireland from the important North American and Mainland Europe markets.’


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 7.6 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 8.9% in 2014 compared to 2013.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 7.1% in 2014, to 2,638,100 visits
  • North America registered an increase of 14.7% for 2014 (1,328,600 visits)
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 8.0% for 2014 (3,163,900 visits)
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 473,800 for 2014 (representing an increase of 8.7%).


Minister Donohoe added: ‘These positive visitor numbers emphasise the vital role that overseas tourism is playing in our economic recovery with overall employment in tourism estimated to be in the region of 200,000. I believe tourism will also have a strong role in securing that recovery and I will shortly be publishing a Tourism Policy Statement which will prioritise investment to maximise the return from tourism in the medium to long term. The new Tourism Policy will seek to build on the gains made in recent years and chart a course to achieving further significant increases in tourist revenue and employment in the sector over the course of the next decade. Our aim is that by 2025, revenue from overseas visitors will increase to €5 billion, and that employment in the sector will rise to 250,000.’

Minister of State, Michael Ring, stated: ‘Since taking office, the Government introduced a range of measures to support the hard work of our tourism sector, boost employment, enhance competitiveness and improve our marketing drive overseas.  Measures include reducing the rate of the Air Travel Tax to zero from April 2014 onwards and retaining the reduction of VAT at 9% on tourism-related services. These actions are a measure of our commitment to the sector and have helped reinforce the message that Ireland continues to offer greatly improved value. I think the overseas visitor statistics certainly show that the measures we introduced continue to work.’


Commenting on the CSO Overseas Travel figures, Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘2014 was a strong year for Irish tourism, with today’s CSO figures confirming growth of +9% in overseas visitors, 620,000 additional visitors when compared with 2013. Given that overseas tourism business accounts for almost 60% of all tourism revenue, this is good news indeed, with the increase in visitor numbers from overseas helping to boost employment and the economic recovery around the country. In fact, 2014 was the best year ever for visitor numbers from North America (+15% compared to 2013), Germany (+15%), France (+5%) and Spain (+11%), as well as from our long-haul markets including Australia and New Zealand (almost +9%). And the all-important British market, the largest market for Irish tourism, also saw growth of +8% last year (235,000 additional visitors), which is very encouraging. Throughout 2014, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of people around the world. Our overseas publicity campaigns brought positive messages about Ireland to potential visitors in our key markets; Tourism Ireland estimates that this international media exposure was worth an estimated €280 million in equivalent advertising value. Looking to the year ahead, ambitious targets have been set to ensure that tourism growth continues. Following last year’s success, we will be pulling out all the stops this year, to keep the momentum going and ensure that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism when we aim to welcome 7.74 million visitors – surpassing the previous record year of 2007.’


Meanwhile, Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland commented: ‘Today’s figures confirm what tourism businesses around the country have been telling us, that last year was a bumper year for tourism. With further development of the Wild Atlantic Way, a rebranding of Dublin and the new and exciting project for the south and east of the country, tourism looks set to go from strength to strength in 2015 and to deliver more jobs and revenue throughout the island.’