Tourism continues to deliver for Irish economy as revenue from overseas visitors up 8.8% – Donohoe

11th September, 2014

Number of trips to Ireland from holidaymakers also rose by 7.8%


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has welcomed new CSO figures released today (Thursday) which confirm strong growth in revenue figures from overseas visitors for the first six months of the year.  The ‘Tourism and Travel – Quarter 2’ statistics show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) for the first half of 2014 rose by 8.8% compared with the same period in 2013.  The figures also show that the number of trips to Ireland in the key target market of holidaymakers rose by 7.8% during that period.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This Government recognised that tourism could play a key part in our economic recovery. We introduced a number of measures to ensure this was the case and today’s figures confirm that our initiatives continue to work. In the period between January and June of this year, our overseas visitors spent an estimated €1.535 billion in Ireland which is an enormous contribution to our economy and an increase of almost 9% on the corresponding period for 2013’.


“It must be remembered that 2013 was the year of the Gathering and overall expenditure from overseas visitors (excluding fares) grew by 11.9% to €3.262 billion for the year.  Despite fears in some quarters that it would be difficult to achieve similar results in 2014, today’s data shows that the positive momentum has been maintained which is tremendous news for everybody in our tourism sector.  Of course there is still business to be won and yesterday I launched Tourism Ireland’s Autumn Campaign which will help us maximise business for the rest of the year and maintain the momentum into 2015.”


The figures published today by the CSO are based on detailed surveys of overseas visitors and contain detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bednights.


Minister Ring added that: ‘We were already aware that the number of visits grew strongly in the first half of the year.  Today’s CSO statistics shows the economic benefit that has resulted from these overseas visits.  Internationally renowned events, such as the Giro D’Italia, have helped to further promote Ireland to the world this year and we still have many more to come, including the Dublin Festival Season, Wexford Festival Opera and the Cork Jazz festival’.


Commenting on today’s CSO figures for the first half of 2014, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s CSO figures are very strong, confirming that holidaymakers from overseas grew by 7%+ in the first half of 2014, with growth recorded from all of our market areas around the world. I am particularly pleased to see holidaymaker numbers from Great Britain showing growth of 13%+ and from North America of 9%+. And, more importantly for the Irish economy, revenue from overseas tourists grew by almost 9% in the first six months of 2014; an additional €123 million when compared with the same six-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 overseas holidaymakers and revenue helping to boost employment around the country. This was a strong first half and reflects the sentiment we are hearing from our tourism industry partners in the markets and here at home. We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. We are rolling out a really 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 our annual overseas tourism business’.


Welcoming today’s figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, said: ‘Tourism is certainly delivering the goods in terms of extra visitors and revenue and that’s good news for jobs and businesses all around the country. The strong continued growth in the lucrative business tourism market is certainly to be welcomed and reflects an increased investment by Fáilte Ireland in that sector over the last few years. Overall, the near horizon looks good with top-level data from current Fáilte Ireland research telling us that almost eight out of ten tourism businesses are now reporting growth this year and there is a mood of optimism in the sector regarding the year ahead’.


“However, there can be no room for complacency. A short-lived tourism boom will do us no favours. Instead, we need to ensure that current growth is sustainable and continuous. We are already working smarter – targeting those segments of our overseas markets where our research tells us the greatest potential can be found. Crucially, as an industry, we must also think long-term in terms of our attractiveness and ensure we continue to provide the good value and quality which has delivered the growth we have seen in recent years.”