Donohoe and Ring welcome positive start for Irish tourism in 2015  

25th February, 2015

9.1% increase in overseas visits to Ireland and 1,600 increase in employment in accommodation and food services sector


2014 was an excellent year for overseas visitors to Ireland and figures released today (Wednesday) show that 2015 has seen this positive trend continue.  CSO data shows that the number of overseas visits between November 2014 and January 2015 increased by 9.1% compared to the corresponding period for 2013/2014. The CSO Quarterly National Household Survey which was also published today shows further positive results for the sector with the numbers employed in the accommodation and food services sector (seasonally adjusted) increasing by 1,600.


Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, welcomed the positive data in respect of overseas tourism saying: ‘I am very pleased to see that our overseas visitors continue to grow. 2014 saw the fourth consecutive year of growth in visitor numbers.  In fact, 2014 broke all previous records in terms of the number of overseas visits from key markets like North America, Germany, France and Spain.  We have targeted further growth in 2015 and as part of the drive to maintain this momentum I recently announced details of Tourism Ireland’s 2015 Global Greening initiative which will see some of the world’s most famous attractions and sites going green to mark St Patrick’s Day. This will kick off a major promotional drive for overseas tourism in 2015’.


“While our recent tourism performance has been impressive, we must never become complacent and assume that growth will continue indefinitely and without effort. With this in mind, in the coming weeks, I will formally launch our new Tourism Policy Statement – ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ which will prioritise investment to maximise the return from tourism in the period to 2025.”


Comparing the three-month period Nov ‘14 – Jan ‘15 with the period Nov ’13 – Jan’14:

  • Overall trips to Ireland were up by 9.1%;
  • North America was up by 10%;
  • Visits from Mainland Europe were up by 10.1%;
  • Visits from the rest of the world increased by 0.5%;
  • Great Britain registered an increase of 9.6% in visits.


CSO data from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) which was also published today indicates that employment in the accommodation and food services sector increased by 1.2% or 1,600 jobs (seasonally adjusted) for Q4-2104, compared to Q4-2013.


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD added: ‘I welcome the publication of the employment numbers from the CSO which provides further evidence that our tourism industry continues to contribute to economic recovery. Job creation has been this Government’s number one priority and the measures we introduced to help the tourism sector continue to deliver results in this regard.  The CSO data shows that the number of persons employed in the accommodation and food services sector now stands at 138,400 which represents an increase of 1.2% or 1,600 jobs (seasonally adjusted) compared to the corresponding period of 2013. We have even greater ambition for the future with our new Tourism Policy Statement, which will be launched next month, targeting significant further growth in overseas visitor numbers and those employed in the sector for the period to 2025.”


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, stated: ‘I am delighted to see an increase in overseas visitor numbers of +9% between November 2014 and January 2015, about 123,200 additional visitors when compared with the same three-month period last year. I am really pleased to see growth from all of our market areas around the world – including Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, all up around 10%. Today’s figures represent a very positive start to 2015, as we roll out our promotional programme around the world. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost next month, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day set to be even bigger and better than ever before. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we will be taking every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile. 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’.


Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: ‘Today’s figures are positive and provide a welcome boost as we prepare to kick off the tourism season in March. As these figures are published, the tourism industry is looking to 2015 with a strong expectation of further growth and significant optimism for the next 12 months. This upbeat mood was very much in evidence at the Irish Hotels Federation’s Annual Conference this week. While all the trends have been upwards for the last number of years, we cannot passively assume they will stay that way. For that reason, in its plans for the year ahead, Fáilte Ireland is focused on ensuring sustainable and continual growth in tourism, geared to break the boom and bust cycle of tourism performances past and providing for the type of on-going performance which delivers increased jobs and revenue throughout the country’.