Donohoe welcomes confirmation of excellent peak tourism season

26th September, 2014

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Friday 26th September) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 9.4% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eight months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013.

Commenting on the figures from Boston, Minister Donohoe stated “The figures today cover the first eight months of 2014 including the peak tourism months of June, July and August. Thankfully the figures confirm an excellent summer period for Irish tourism with all of our main overseas markets showing good growth levels. This is due, in no small part, to the policies being pursued by Government.”

Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 5.2 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 9.4% in the first eight months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.  For the three-month period from June to August 2014, overseas trips to Ireland increased by 9.7%.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 7.4% for January to August 2014, to 1,837,900 visits and by 11.2% for the June to August period.
  • North America registered an increase of 13.4% for January – August 2014 (915,500 visits) and of  18% in the June – August 2014 period;
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 8.8% for January – August 2014 (2,120,500 visits) and by 3.5% for the three months from June to August 2014 compared to the corresponding period of 2013.
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 326,800 for the first eight months of 2014 (representing an increase of 14.7%) and increased by 13.4% for the three months from June to August alone.

“Irish tourism is having a very good year but we must never become complacent. Figures for visits from North America to date in 2014 are excellent (up 13.4% on 2013 which was itself a record year) and I am currently in Boston promoting Ireland as a tourist destination alongside Tourism Ireland at the iFest festival of contemporary Irish culture and the Jump into Ireland sales and networking event. US visitors to Ireland tend to stay longer and spend more than the average visitor so encouraging them to visit us all year round is essential.”

Minister of State Michael Ring highlighted the fact that there are still some significant tourism events scheduled to take place before the end of 2014. “This is more good news for the Irish tourism industry. While we are now in the shoulder season, we still have an exciting schedule of annual festivals this autumn including this weekend’s Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, the Wexford Festival Opera and the Cork Jazz Festival all of which will give the local economies a significant boost”.

Commenting on the CSO figures, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ”Today’s CSO figures are very strong – confirming growth of +9.4% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the January to August period, almost 450,000 additional visitors when compared with the same eight-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. I am delighted to report that we are seeing growth from all of our market areas around the world this year. I am particularly pleased to see visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest market, increasing by +9% for the first eight months (171,100 additional visitors). 2014 is also set to be another record year for tourism from North America, with growth of +13% (almost 110,000 additional visitors). And it is very encouraging to see growth from Mainland Europe of +7% (126,000 additional visitors) and our long-haul markets of +15% (42,000 extra arrivals).

“This was a strong performance 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 have a really extensive autumn campaign in full swing right now – aimed at boosting late-season travel to Ireland from around the globe and keeping this momentum going. The period September to December traditionally yields as much as 30% of our annual overseas tourism business.”


Meanwhile, Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland commented: “The continued robust performance of tourism is providing additional revenue and jobs for Ireland and is to be welcomed.  Fáilte Ireland’s own research is telling us that this growth is impacting favourably across all sectors of tourism with many experiencing levels of business they haven’t enjoyed for many years.  This growth has been helped by economic recovery in some of our key markets overseas but crucially, whether it is new initiatives like the Wild Atlantic Way or the variety of festivals and events around the country, Ireland is providing a very attractive offer to the overseas traveller.  Also in our accommodation sector we continue to provide a good blend of quality and variety.  We can grow even further next year and beyond as long as we continue to do those things we are doing right and build on the developments and investments we have made over the last few years.”