28/04/2017

Visitors To Ireland Trend Continues

The latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures released today show that the number of overseas visits to Ireland for the 1st quarter of 2017 was 1.796 million, which was an increase of 0.6% compared to the same quarter in 2016.

Welcoming the result, the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport,

Shane Ross, said: "2016 was a record year for Irish tourism both in terms of the numbers of overseas visitors and the associated revenue generated by them. It is going to be a challenge to continue this upward curve but the increase in visitors in the first quarter is encouraging. I am particularly pleased with the increase in visitors from North America, which registered an increase in visits of 23.2%.

"Whilst the overall figures remain positive, the first quarter of 2017 has seen a drop in the number of visits from Great Britain. This provides an indication of the challenge the Irish tourism industry is facing following Great Britain's decision to leave the European Union. It is a challenge that the Government will meet, working with the tourism agencies and the industry. A key focus will be market diversification and this week the Secretary General of my Department, Graham Doyle, is attending Tourism Ireland's 2017 China Sales Mission, which aims to enhance and widen networking and business ties between the Irish Industry and leading Chinese travel trade partners and airlines."

Comparing the three-month period Jan '17 – Mar '17 with the period Jan '16 – Mar'16:

• Overall visits to Ireland were up by 0.6% to 1.796 million visits;

• North America was up by 23.2%;

• Great Britain registered a decrease of -6.5%;

• Visits from Mainland Europe decreased by -0.6%;

• Visits from the rest of the world increased by 16%.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O'Donovan T.D. added: "While it is a concern to see a drop in the number of visits from Great Britain, it is important to note that overall overseas visit numbers for Q-1 2017 increased by 0.6% compared to the same period in 2016. The target set out in our policy statement "People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025" is to grow overseas visit numbers to 10 million by 2025 and we are still on track to achieve this target. Competitiveness and value for money are more important now than ever."

(MH)

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