Rise of 12.2% in visitor numbers signals Govt tourism policies are working – Donohoe and Ring

29th September, 2015

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 12.2% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe stated: ‘The figures today cover the first eight months of 2015 and confirm an excellent summer period for Irish tourism with all of our main overseas markets showing good growth levels. Along with recent information which showed that overseas earnings have risen by over 16% for the first half of 2015 we can be confident that this year will beat all previous records in terms of our overseas visitors. The continued growth in overseas visit numbers is a clear signal that the policies being pursued by Government are the right ones to support the sector. Through our tourism policy; ‘People, Place and Policy; Growing tourism to 2015’ and our Tourism Leadership Group, we will continue to seek the most effective ways to assist those in the industry to meet the targets we have set and attract more visitors to Ireland’.


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 5.83 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 12.2% in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.  For the three-month period from June to August 2015, overseas trips to Ireland also increased by 12.2%.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 13% for January to August 2015, to 2,077,000 visits and by 12% for the June to August period.
  • North America registered an increase of  13.9% for January – August 2015 (1,043,100 visits) and an increase of  14.2% in the June – August 2015 period;
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 11.2% for January – August 2015 (2,357,200 visits) and by 12.6% for the three months from June to August 2015 compared to the corresponding period of 2014.
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 356,800 for the first eight months of 2015 (representing an increase of 9.2%) and increased by 5.8% for the three months from June to August.


Commenting on today’s statistics, Minister Ring stated: ‘Today’s figures are more good news for the Irish tourism industry. The rising visitor number and revenue from these markets are underpinning job creation throughout the country.  While we are now in the shoulder season, we still have an exciting schedule of annual festivals this autumn including the Wexford Festival Opera, the Cork Jazz Festival and this week’s Westport Arts Festival all of which will give the local economies a further boost.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s figures indicate that we are heading for a record year for Irish tourism in 2015, with more than 5.8 million people arriving during the January to August period – an increase of +12%, or an additional 633,500 overseas visitors, when compared to 2014. 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 +14% on the first eight 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 +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 (+9%)’.


Meanwhile, Shaun Quinn, chief executive of Fáilte Ireland commented: ‘Welcoming today’s figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: “These figures confirm what we have suspected for the last few months – 2015 is shaping up to be a record year for Irish tourism with particularly impressive results in our British and American markets. However, while we can all take satisfaction from such a stellar performance, we must guard against complacency. At the moment, a lot of external factors, such as currency rates and the global economy, are giving a strong wind to our sails. These things can change and to ‘weatherproof’ tourism we must continue to focus on those factors within our control. This means that we must remain competitive and continue to provide value for money to visitors if tourism growth is to be ‘ever-green’ and not cyclical’.