Ireland looking at record year for tourism in 2015 – Donohoe & Ring

24th June, 2015

12.1 % increase in overseas visits to Ireland in first five months of 2015


Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD,and Minister of State, Michael Ring TD, have today(Wednesday) welcomed CSO data which shows that the number of overseas visits to Ireland in the first five months of 2015 increased by 12.1% compared to the same period last year.


Minister Donohoe said:  ‘As we enter the peak months of the tourism season, it is very encouraging that the growth trend shows no sign of abating. Indeed if this trend continues we will be looking at a record year for overseas visitor numbers. We are now in our fifth consecutive year of growth in visit numbers with benefits for every part of the country. Today’s data from the CSO, combined with recently released tourism revenue data (+10.5% for the first quarter of the year), is further evidence that tourism is playing a huge part in Ireland’s economic growth’.


Comparing the period to the end of May with the same period in 2014, the figures show that:


  • Overall trips to Ireland were up by 12.1% to just over 3 million visits;
  • Visit from North America were up by 13.6%;
  • Visits from Mainland Europe were up by 14.0%;
  • Visits from the rest of the world increased by 13.0%;
  • Great Britain registered an increase of 10.1% with 1.33 million visits.


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD,added: ‘Today’s data confirms once again that the priority given by the Government to the development of the tourism sector is paying strong economic dividends. Measures such as the 9% VAT rate, the reduced 0% Air Travel Tax and Visa measures have combined with the hard work of tourism enterprises to deliver stronger visitor numbers since 2011. Strong marketing campaigns by the tourism agencies during the remainder of 2015 will highlight the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin to maintain the growth trend in tourism’.


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s figures indicate that this was the best ever January to May period for overseas visitors to Ireland, with more than three million arrivals recorded for the first five months representing an increase of +12% in overseas visitor numbers and with growth recorded from all of our market areas around the world. Our aim is to ensure that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism and we have certainly seen an exceptional performance from North America for the five-month period of January to May – up +13.6% on the same period in 2014. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe which is particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. Mainland Europe has also turned in a stellar performance (+14%) for January to May, with important markets like Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Benelux all recording fantastic growth. It’s also been another record five months for our longer-haul markets which are up +13%; and I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (+10%), our largest market for overseas tourism. Today’s figures very much reflect the sentiment expressed by our tourism industry partners overseas, including tour operators and carriers, as well as tourism businesses here at home’.


Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland stated: ‘These are very strong figures for the tourism sector and confirm what the industry has been saying to us over the last few months; business is very good and we may be looking at a record year for overseas visitors in 2015. Tourism businesses around the country are certainly upbeat with most of them telling us in Fáilte Ireland that they expect their business to grow this year’.


“Our key objective now is to ensure that today’s good news is not just the positive phase in a cycle but that we can sustain this growth. Whether it is the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, a rebranding of Dublin or innovation in digital and social media marketing, Fáilte Ireland is pulling every lever to help maximise tourism growth and ensure that the sector delivers additional revenue and jobs for the years to come.”