Ministers Donohoe and Ring welcome continued growth in overseas visitor numbers

26th August, 2015

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD today (Wednesday) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 12.2% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first seven months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014.

Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe stated: ‘I am pleased to welcome today’s statistics from the CSO which confirms the on-going strong performance in overseas visitors coming to Ireland. It is very encouraging that the growth in our overseas visitors is not confined to any particular region and all of our target overseas markets are performing exceptionally well.’

The latest CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At 4,814,600 visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 12.2% in the first seven months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 12.7% for January to July 2015 (1,712,800 visits);
  • North America registered an increase of 14.9% for January – July 2015 (857,100 visits);
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 11.1% for January – July 2015 (1,952,700 visits);
  • Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, were up by 8.5% totalling over 292,100 visits.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘Earlier this year the Government published a policy statement “People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025” and on Thursday last Minister Ring and I hosted the first meeting of the new Tourism Leadership Group. The Group will drive the targets set out in the policy statement and we are now working on a detailed action plan to ensure that the strong tourism performance is maintained in the years ahead.’

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TDadded: ‘I’m delighted to see further evidence that the measures introduced by this Government to help the tourism industry continue to deliver results. The figures for the year to date suggest that 2015 will beat all previous records in terms of the numbers visiting our shores. While this is very satisfactory we are determined to ensure that the positive momentum is maintained. The work of the new Tourism Leadership Group will be essential in ensuring that we continue to outperform our competitors and further grow the Irish tourism sector in a sustainable manner.’

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s figures indicate that this was the best ever January to July period for overseas visitors to Ireland, with more than 4.8 million arrivals recorded, representing an increase of +12% – an additional 522,200 overseas visitors – when compared with January to July 2014. Our aim is to ensure that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism and this is good news indeed, with the increase in visitor numbers from overseas helping to boost economic recovery around the country. I am delighted to see that growth has been recorded from all of our markets around the world, with record numbers arriving here from North America (up almost 15% on the first seven months of 2014). Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. Mainland Europe has also turned in another stellar performance (up almost 13%), with important markets like Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the Nordic region and Benelux all recording really good growth. I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (+11%), our largest market for overseas tourism, and from our long-haul markets like Australia, China and India (8.5%).’

Welcoming today’s impressive figures, Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Business Development, Paul Keeley emphasised: ‘As we start to see concrete data regarding visitor numbers this summer, it is now very clear that 2015 is going to be a record-breaker for the tourism sector and, on current trends, we may eventually welcome up to 7.7 million to our shores this year. This growth is testimony to the good value and great quality currently on offer in Ireland. Furthermore, from talking to many tourism businesses in the west, I am aware  that the Wild Atlantic Way is significantly strengthening our appeal there. With ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ also progressing and a rejuvenation of Dublin’s consumer appeal under way, Irish tourism is working on all fronts to ensure it is ideally positioned to generate even more visitors, revenue and jobs over the next few years.’