Record Year for overseas tourism confirmed  – Donohoe and Ring

22nd December, 2015

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD, today (Tuesday) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 14.0% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eleven months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe said: ‘Even without the visitor number figures for December these statistics shows that 2015 has already surpassed the previous record for visit numbers in a calendar year (2007). The latest CSO figures confirm that just over eight million people visited Ireland in the first eleven months of this year –That’s an additional 987,500 visitors in the period to the end of November.  It is notable we are seeing strong growth from all our source market areas’


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 8 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 14% in the first eleven months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 15.9% for January to November 2015, to 2,845,300 visits
  • North America registered an increase of 14.2% for January – November 2015 (1,436,700 visits)
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 12.5% for January – November 2015 (3,259,100 visits)
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled  494,300 for the first eleven months of 2015 (representing an increase of 13.3%).


Minister Donohoe added: ‘While these record breaking totals are very good news, ambitious targets have been set for 2016 and beyond. By 2025 we aim to have 10 million visits to Ireland and 250,000 people employed in the tourism sector. Earlier this year I appointed a Tourism Leadership Group which will identify the specific actions required in order to achieve the longer term goals in the Tourism Policy Statement. Early in the new year I will publish a Tourism Action Plan which will contain these actions.’


Minister of State, Michael Ring, stated: ‘The figures published by the CSO confirm that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism. Earlier this month the CSO confirmed that tourism revenue for the first nine months of the year stood at  €4.2 billion, an increase of 16%. These figures represent a substantial economic boost. In 2016 the tourism agencies will continue to promote Ireland’s Ancient East along with the Wild Atlantic Way while making the most of opportunities such as Star Wars Episode VII and the high ranking of Dublin by “Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016.’


Commenting on the CSO Overseas Travel figures, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “2015 has been a superb year for overseas tourism, with today’s figures indicating that it will be a record-breaking year, with more than 8 million people arriving here during the January to November period – an increase of +14%, or almost 1 million additional overseas visitors, when compared to 2014. I am delighted to report that growth has been recorded from all of our markets around the world, with record numbers arriving here from North America (+14% on the first 11 months of 2014). Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. We have also seen record numbers arriving here from Mainland Europe (almost +16%) and from our long-haul markets like Australia, China and India (+13%). I also welcome the continued strong performance from Britain (over +12%), our largest market for overseas tourism. We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. Tourism Ireland has a number of late-season campaigns under way right now, to kickstart our promotional effort for 2016. In 2016, we will be pulling out all the stops to surpass this year’s record performance and to welcome 8.2 million visitors, delivering €4.4 billion to the Irish economy.”

Meanwhile, Shaun Quinn,chief executive of Fáilte Ireland commented: “Clearly, 2015 has been the year that tourism bounced back but we must maintain our competitiveness and keep our focus on on ensuring sustainable growth.  Tourism has been through a boom and bust cycle and we are determined to avoid a repeat of that. Instead, through initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and our new Brand for Dublin, Fáilte Ireland in 2016 will be targeting sustained and evergreen growth – in all parts of the country and all year round.”