11% tourism increase in Ireland in 2015

11% tourism increase in Ireland in 2015

Tourism Ireland sets its sights on another record year for Irish tourism in 2016 – 8.2 million visitors

Tourism Ireland recently launched details of its marketing plans to promote Ireland overseas in 2016 and beyond, at an event attended by Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and tourism industry leaders from around the country.

The organisation aims to surpass this year’s record performance in overseas tourism and to welcome 8.2 million visitors to Ireland in 2016. This figure will represent growth of +4% over 2015 and deliver €4.4 billion to the Irish economy (almost +5%) next year.

To illustrate how much Irish tourism has bounced back since the downturn, a comparison of CSO figures for January to October 2015 versus the same period in 2010 shows superb growth in visitors from Britain (+20% in that five-year period), North America (+51%), Mainland Europe (+38%) and Australia and developing markets (+66%).

Building on this year’s success and sustaining growth into the future is at the heart of Tourism Ireland’s strategy for 2016. Factors working in our favour include: new flights to Ireland, stronger economies in our key source markets, the Ireland ‘brand’ (or image abroad) remains strong, as well as favourable exchange rates for sterling and the dollar. Other positives include Tourism Ireland’s strength in digital and social media (the organisation is the third most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook).

11% tourism increase in Ireland in 2015
Star Wars shot on Skellig Michael. Image courtesy of broadsheet.ie

The release of Star Wars Episode VII – which will feature Skellig Michael – also presents Tourism Ireland with a truly unique opportunity to highlight the South West and Ireland in 2016.

Following the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, a new ad highlighting our latest tourism experience, Ireland’s Ancient East, was also unveiled today. The ad will launch in January 2016 in 23 markets around the world. Tourism Ireland will also promote Dublin – “A Breath of Fresh Air” – in major markets throughout 2016.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “I welcome the ambitious targets that are set out by Tourism Ireland in its marketing plans for 2016. I want to again acknowledge the excellent work that Tourism Ireland carries out overseas with such professionalism, as well as the vital role that our tourism industry plays in generating economic growth and employment opportunities.

Paschal Donohoe TD
Paschal Donohoe TD

“That is why we continue to invest in tourism marketing, and in supporting our tourism businesses to enhance their competitiveness. Our policies on the air travel tax and VAT have helped to improve the value on offer for our visitors. The overall tourism goal of Government – as expressed in our Tourism Policy Statement – 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 250,000 people employed in the tourism sector, compared to 205,000 at present. In August I appointed a new Tourism Leadership Group, which will identify the specific actions required over the period 2016-2018 in order to achieve the longer-term goals in the Tourism Policy Statement. These actions will be contained in a Tourism Action Plan to be published early next year.”

2015 performance

Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, 7.9 million people will have visited Ireland in 2015, representing an +11% increase over 2014, with growth recorded from all markets. Revenue generated by international visitors is expected to be almost €4.2 billion, +16% increase over last year.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “2015 is set to be the best year ever for Irish tourism. And I am delighted to report that growth has been recorded from all our markets around the world – with record numbers arriving here from North America, Mainland Europe and Australia and developing markets. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated €320 million in equivalent advertising value.”

2016 and beyond

Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2016 will see Ireland welcome 8.2 million visitors, representing growth of +4% over 2015.

Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “Following a successful 2015, ambitious targets have been set again for 2016 and beyond. We will unveil Ireland’s Ancient East around the world, while continuing to place a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way. We will also highlight Dublin, in particular capitalising on the recent inclusion of Dublin at number three in the world in the prestigious ‘Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016’. Early next year, we will leverage the huge global popularity of Star Wars, following the upcoming launch of Star Wars Episode VII. And we will work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to highlight Ireland 2016 to people everywhere – showcasing major new attractions and the year’s signature events.”

See more at: www.tourismireland.com


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