Tourism enjoys continued growth in first quarter – Donohoe & Ring

28th April, 2015

14.1% increase in overseas visits to Ireland


CSO data released today (Tuesday) shows that the number of overseas visits to Ireland between January 2015 and March 2015 increased by 14.1% compared to the corresponding period of 2014.


Paschal Donohoe T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sportwelcomed the positive data:  ‘I welcome today’s data for the first quarter of 2015 which shows continued growth in our overseas visit numbers. Last month the Taoiseach and I launched a new and ambitious tourism policy covering the decade ahead. The policy entitled ‘People, Place and Policy- Growing Tourism to 2025’ places tourism as a key element of the Government’s economic strategy and sets out ambitious targets for growth in overseas visits and associated revenue, and increased tourism employment. The visitor numbers released today confirm that 2015 has started very well for the tourism sector and bodes well for tourism’s important contribution to the economy and jobs. The visitor numbers from Mainland Europe are very encouraging with visitor numbers from France increasing by 26.1%, Spain by 28.1% while visitor numbers from Italy were up by a remarkable 36.2%.’


Comparing the three-month period Jan ‘15 – Mar ‘15 with the period Jan ’14 – Mar’14:

  • Overall trips to Ireland were up by 14.1% to 1.531 million visits
  • North America was up by 6.9%;
  • Visits from Mainland Europe were up by 17.6%;
  • Visits from the rest of the world increased by 9.4%;
  • Great Britain registered an increase of 14.2% in visits.


Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring T.D.added: ‘I join Minister Donohoe in welcoming the continued positive trend in visitor numbers for the first quarter of the year. We are not taking these results for granted and continue to invest in the sector. Most recently Minister Donohoe and I launched “Ireland’s Ancient East”, a tourism proposition designed to build on the wealth of our historical and cultural assets in the East and South of Ireland. Along with the “Wild Atlantic Way” and a brand proposition for Dublin, such initiatives help Ireland to stand out in the competitive international tourism market’.


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘Today’s figures represent a stunning start to the year. Our aim is to ensure that 2015 is the best year ever for Irish tourism and already we have seen an exceptional performance from Mainland Europe in the first quarter (+18%) – with important markets like France (+26%), Italy (+36%) and Spain (+28%) turning in stellar performances. And it’s another record first quarter for visitor numbers from North America – up +7% on the same three-month period in 2014; Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. It’s also been another record first quarter for our longer-haul markets, up +9%; and I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (+14%), our largest market for overseas tourism. Today’s figures very much reflect the sentiment expressed by our tourism industry partners overseas, including tour operators and carriers, as well as tourism businesses here at home. Our strategy of focusing investment in key markets is paying dividends. Our strong position in digital media is also helping to drive growth; Tourism Ireland is now the third largest tourism board in the world on Facebook, with almost 3 million fans, and the second largest on Twitter, with more than 270,000 followers’.

Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland stated:  ‘This is the best start to the tourism year for many years with today’s figures showing Q1 growth in visitor numbers at the strongest rate in over 15 years. This bodes well for the rest of the year and, if we can maintain this momentum into the high season along with current levels of value and quality, 2015 could well be a record year for Irish tourism’.

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093