Visitor numbers for first nine months confirm we are on course for record year in tourism- Donohoe and Ring

28th October, 2015

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 12.5% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe stated: ‘With only a couple of months left in 2015, figures released by the CSO today confirm a very strong performance by Irish tourism with all of our main overseas markets continuing to show significant growth. I am determined to maintain this positive momentum and in this regard the Tourism Leadership Group continues to work on a detailed Tourism Action Plan to ensure that the strong tourism performance is maintained. I was pleased to secure an additional €2 million for tourism in Budget 2016, which will be used for key elements of Fáilte Ireland’s and Tourism Ireland’s programmes, including for co-operative overseas marketing, the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid. One million euro of this will be allocated towards overseas marketing for the year ahead, bringing the total allocation to just over €35 million next year. In  the coming weeks I will launch Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2016.


The overall tourism goal of Government is that by 2025, revenue from overseas visitors, excluding carrier receipts, will increase to €5 billion, net of inflation.  We aim to have 10 million visits to Ireland annually by 2025 and that employment in the sector would rise to 250,000.’


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

  • At over 6.64 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 12.5% in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.  For the three-month period from July to September 2015, overseas trips to Ireland increased by 13.5%.
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 13.7% for January to September 2015, to 2,363,900 visits and by 14.6% for the July to September period.
  • North America registered an increase of  13.6% for January – September 2015 (1,209,300 visits) and an increase of  12.3% in the July – September 2015 period;
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 11.1% for January – September 2015 (2,662,500 visits) and by 13.9% for the three months from July to September 2015 compared to the corresponding period of 2014.
  • Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 411,400 for the first nine months of 2015 (representing an increase of 11.2%) and increased by 10.0% for the three months from July to September

Commenting on today’s statistics, Minister Ring stated “I am pleased to note the strong performance in our overseas visitor numbers. Our domestic holiday market is also very important and statistics released last week showed that domestic holidays trips for the first half of the year had increased by 6.5% when compared with the same period in 2014 while expenditure on domestic holidays had increased by 10.6% for the same period. Combined with today’s visitor numbers we can see that our tourism sector is enjoying a great year and the hard work of the tourism industry is paying dividends.


Welcoming today’s figures from the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for January to September 2015, 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 almost 6.65 million people arriving during the January to September period – an increase of +12%, or an additional 737,600 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 nine 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 (also up almost +14%), 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 (+11%).”


Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: “These latest CSO figures indicate that tourism is firing on all cylinders particularly in our key markets – North America, Mainland Europe and Britain. We have been particularly blessed this year by favourable currency rates but these aren’t steadfast and it will be important for tourism businesses to ensure they are ready should these conditions change. We must focus on continuing to provide visitors with unique  experiences and value for money in order to ensure tourism growth continues into 2016”.