Tourism Ireland welcomes strong 17% growth in overseas visitor

Tourism Ireland welcomes strong 17% growth in overseas visitors for the first quarter of 2016

Positive start to the year as Tourism Ireland rolls out its promotional programme around the world, aiming to make 2016 another record year for Irish tourism

Commenting on today’s figures from the CSO for overseas visitors to Ireland for the first quarter of 2016, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: Today’s figures represent an excellent start to the year, as we roll out our promotional programme around the world. It was the best ever March and the best ever first quarter for Irish tourism. I am really pleased to see overseas visitor numbers up almost +17% – that’s a quarter of a million additional visitors when compared with the first quarter of 2015. I welcome the strong increase in visitors from Britain (+17%), our largest market for overseas tourism. Mainland Europe has also performed extremely well (+14%), with important markets like France (+12%), Germany (+21%), Spain (+13%), Benelux (+31%) and the Nordic countries (+24%) turning in stellar performances. And it’s another record first quarter for visitor numbers from North America, up +24.5% on the same three-month period in 2015; 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 +8%.

These 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 focus now is on surpassing last year’s success, to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for overseas tourism. Promoting the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route continues to be a major focus for Tourism Ireland. We are also showcasing Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’.