Tourism remains on course for exceptional year  – Donohoe

22nd December, 2014

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Monday) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 8.6% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eleven months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013.


Commenting on the tourism figures, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The figures published by the CSO today confirm that the hard work of the tourism industry and the priority given to the sector by the Government continues to pay dividends. As we near the end of 2014 we can reflect on a year of strong growth in visitor numbers and, as highlighted recently, similarly impressive growth in the associated revenue figures’.


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 7 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 8.6% in the first eleven months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 6.3% for January to November 2014, to 2,455,700 visits
  • North America registered an increase of 14.9% for January – November 2014 (1,258,600 visits)
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 8% for January – November 2014 (2,897,200 visits)
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 436,300 for the first eleven months of 2014 (representing an increase of 9.2%).


Minister Donohoe added: ‘Tourism is one of Ireland’s largest indigenous industries and overseas tourism is tremendously important for Ireland. The tourism sector supports almost 140,000 jobs in the accommodation and food sector alone and overall employment in tourism is estimated to be in the region of 200,000.  Overseas tourism has played a vital role in our economic recovery and I believe it has a lot more to contribute. In the New Year, I will be publishing a Tourism Policy Statement which will prioritise investment to maximise the return from tourism in the medium to long term’.


Minister of State, Michael Ring, stated: ‘The hard work and innovation of the tourism industry has been complemented by initiatives such as The Wild Atlantic Way which has generated huge interest across all our markets. Tourism Ireland will continue to promote the route, seeking to attract both new and repeat visitors. Similarly Fáilte Ireland is currently finalising a unifying tourism proposition for those counties in the east and south. The proposition will group the cultural and heritage tourism assets of Ireland’s East and South via a network of routes, trails and journeys into a new tourism experience that can easily be understood and will appeal to overseas visitors. The tourism industry can look forward to 2015 with confidence’.


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘2014 has been a strong year for tourism, with today’s CSO figures confirming growth of +8.6% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the January to November period, almost 560,000 additional visitors when compared with the same eleven-month period in 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 around the country.  Growth has been recorded from all our market areas and 2014 will be the best year ever for visitor numbers from North America (+15% growth to the end of November), Germany, France and Spain, as well as from our long-haul markets including Australia and New Zealand (+9.2%). And the all-important British market, the largest market for Irish tourism, has also seen growth of +8% for the first eleven months (214,000 additional visitors), which is really encouraging. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere.’


Niall Gibbons continued: ‘We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. Right now, we are rolling out an extensive end-of-year campaign, to kickstart our promotional effort for 2015. We will be pulling out all the stops next 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: ‘Whether its visitors, revenue or jobs, tourism has delivered in 2014 and early projections show 2015 will continue that trend. 2014 has been a tremendous year for Irish tourism with all markets showing healthy growth.  As we look to 2015, we are in a good position to sustain growth levels next year- we have a great tourism product, a variety of new attractions in development and we are providing good value for money to those who come here. As things stand now, it’s full steam ahead for the tourism sector to deliver more growth and earnings over the next 12 months.’