Strong tourism performance continues with an increase in overseas visitors and in numbers employed in the sector – Donohoe

26th November, 2014

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 8.8% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first ten months of 2014 compared to the same period last year. The CSO also published the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) figures, which include details of those employed in the ‘Accommodation and Food Service Activities’ sector.


Commenting on the tourism figures, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The figures published by the CSO today confirm that the strong tourism performance from overseas markets has continued into the latter part of the year. All of our main markets are showing impressive growth levels and the figures are further evidence that the measures this Government introduced to help the tourism sector continue to deliver’.


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 6.5 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 8.8% in the first ten months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.  For the three-month period from August to October 2014, overseas trips to Ireland increased by 6.7%.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 6.9% for January to October 2014, to 2,306,900 visits and by 7.1% for the August to October period.
  • North America registered an increase of 14.5% for January – October 2014 (1,185,800 visits) and of 20.9% in the August to October 2014 period;
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 8% for January – October 2014 (2,678,000 visits) and by 2.2% for the three months from August to October 2014 compared to the corresponding period of 2013.
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 406,400 for the first ten months of 2014 (representing an increase of 9.6%) but decreased by 2.7% for the three months from August to October alone.


Minister Donohoe added: ‘While it is very satisfying to reflect on another excellent year for Irish tourism, tourism by its nature is a sector that is always looking forward. On Monday next, I will be launching the 2015 Marketing Plans for Tourism Ireland. These plans are designed to ensure that we grow our overseas visit numbers to even higher levels in 2015. Other initiatives such as the establishment of the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance, which will develop a brand identity for the capital and allow us to compete for market share with other cities across Europe; and the tourism proposition for the South and East of the country, which I will be launching next year, will add to the success of the Wild Atlantic Way which is drawing visitors to Ireland from all corners of the globe’.


Commenting on the QNHS figures, Minister of State, Michael Ring TD, stated: ‘We recognised that the tourism sector could play a critical part in employment generation. The impressive growth in overseas visit numbers is clearly contributing to the growth in the number of those employed in the sector. Today’s figures from the CSO show that the numbers employed in Accommodation and Food Services sector were up 2,100 (+1.6%) for Q3-2014 compared to Q3-2013 (seasonally adjusted figures).  This additional employment is having a real benefit to villages and towns right across the country”.


Commenting on the CSO Overseas Travel figures, Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘2014 has been another strong year for tourism, with today’s CSO figures confirming growth of almost +9% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the January to October period; about 532,000 additional visitors when compared with the same ten-month period in 2013. 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. And I am delighted to report that we are seeing growth from all of our market areas around the world. Visitor numbers from Britain, our largest market, have increased by +8% for the first ten months (198,000 additional visitors). 2014 is also set to be another record year for tourism from North America, with +14.5% growth to date (150,300 additional visitors). It is also very encouraging to see an increase of almost +7% in visitors from Mainland Europe, with Germany, Spain and Italy turning in particularly strong performances; and from our long-haul markets of almost +10%.’


Meanwhile, Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland commented: ‘All our key markets are delivering extra visitors with North America, in particular, putting in a remarkable performance. Clearly, Irish tourism is heading back towards pre-downturn levels but the trick will be to sustain growth and generate greater numbers of visitors in an increasingly competitive international tourism market.  Whether it is through new exciting ideas such as the Wild Atlantic Way, our rebranding of Dublin or the development of a big new proposition for the South and East of the country, Fáilte Ireland will be using every opportunity we can identify to maximise tourism growth and to ensure the sector delivers the additional revenue and jobs which this country needs’.