Minister Donohoe welcomes growth in employment and visitor numbers to Ireland

27th August, 2014

  • 9.9 % increase in overseas visits to Ireland for first 7 months of year
  • More than 8,000 additional jobs created in the Accommodation and Food Service Activities sector


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 9.9% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe stated: ‘In my first weeks in office, meeting with stakeholders throughout the country, I have seen, at first hand, the strong performance of our tourism industry.  I am particularly encouraged to note that the number of visits from Great Britain has shown considerable growth of +11.3%.


The latest CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At 4,292,400 visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 9.9% in the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 6.8% for January to July 2014 (1,519,800 visits);
  • North America registered an increase of 11.1% for January – July 2014 (745,900 visits);
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 11.3% for January – July 2014 (1,757,500 visits).
  • Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, were up by 17.1% totalling over 269,100 visits.


Minister Donohoe also welcomed the publication of yesterday’s CSO Quarterly National Household Survey for Q2-2014 which showed that the seasonally adjusted numbers employed in the ‘Accommodation and Food Service Activities’ sector increased by 8,000 (or 6.2%) compared to the same period in 2013.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘The Government’s decision to introduce the 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry has been an important factor in the increase in the numbers employed in the ‘Accommodation and Food Services’ sector. Along with increasing the numbers employed, I believe that it has also played a huge part in changing visitors’ perceptions of value for money in Ireland, which has shown a marked and continuing improvement in the past couple of years, after many years of decline.  This improved perception of value for money has, in turn, helped to drive an increase in overseas tourist numbers and expenditure’.


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, added:  ‘I’m delighted to see an increase in both visit numbers and employment numbers and I’m confident that we can keep up this momentum into September and beyond. This increase is having a real effect and is improving the income of workers right across the country.  Figures out earlier this week showed earnings in the accommodation and food services sector increased by over 5% from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, as employers were able to offer more hours to their existing staff, as well as taking on extra staff members. It is gratifying that improved tourism performance is leading to more jobs and higher earnings in the sector.  Festivals and events continue to have a positive impact, which is attracting thousands of visitors to Ireland. Word is spreading, not just about our warm welcome, stunning scenery and exciting events and activities, but also about the good value for money on offer here’.


Commenting on today’s CSO figures for the first seven months of 2014, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s CSO figures are very strong – confirming growth of +9.9% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the January to July period. 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 Britain increasing by +11.3% for the first seven months. 2014 is also set to be another record year for tourism from North America, with growth of +11.1%. And it is very encouraging to see growth from other important tourism markets – including Mainland Europe (+6.8%) and our long-haul markets (+17.1%). We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. In the coming weeks, we will roll out an extensive autumn campaign – 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 overseas tourism business’.

Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland welcomed today’s figures, adding: ‘These figures are extremely encouraging and quite clearly tourism is trending strongly upwards. However, this is no accident and recent growth has been significantly underpinned by the return of good value in our tourism sector as well as our development and promotion of big new ideas such as ‘The Gathering’ and the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ which have given Ireland a distinctive calling card and greater visibility overseas’.

“Today’s trends are not just academic but in real terms translate into increased revenue and employment with an impact on the lives and futures of many communities up and down the country. It’s important that we don’t take this growth for granted and Fáilte Ireland would urge all tourism operators to do all they can to maintain the sector’s winning blend of value and quality which is central to continued growth into the future”.