Commenting on the CSO figures for 2018 which were released today (13th March), Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, has responded, saying: “Today’s CSO figures are very positive, confirming that revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by almost +6% during 2018, an additional €275 million for the Irish economy compared with 2017. Total overseas visitor numbers increased by +6%; and within the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland, holiday visitors grew by +11% during 2018 – 525,000 additional holiday visitors.
“Particularly welcome was the continued strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +13% and an increase of almost +14% in spending by US and Canadian visitors – an outstanding performance. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy has prioritised North America as a market which offers strong return on investment. We have also seen strong growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (+10%) and from our long-haul markets, including Australia (+7%). While visitor numbers from Britain increased by +1%, spend by British visitors declined by -2.6% – reflecting currency fluctuations and the continued uncertainty around Brexit, which remains a real concern.
“Tourism Ireland’s new Fill Your Heart with Ireland campaign is rolling out around the world, to build on the success of 2018. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost this weekend, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day which is even bigger and better than ever before – with 425 sites in 53 different countries signed up to take part. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we will be taking every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile.”