Ireland is ‘top European destination’

Ireland top European destination

US travel trade mag names Ireland for third year in a row as Irish tourism breaks records

Ireland has been named the top destination in Europe for the third year in a row by US tourism ‘bible’ Travel Weekly.

It saw off strong competition from England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain in a vote undertaken by some 15,000 readers of the magazine. The award caps off what is expected to be a record-breaking year for tourism in Ireland, with more people visiting the country than ever before.

With the prize being presented in New York, Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, took the opportunity to praise the impact of guests from North America.

He said: “We are delighted that Ireland has been singled out for this award in the United States.

Ireland top European destination

“Travellers nowadays have tremendous choice, which makes it more important than ever for us to ensure the island of Ireland stands out from other destinations – so this award is really good news, coming at the end of another record-breaking year for Irish tourism from the US and as we prepare to kick off another extensive promotional drive in 2017, in this all-important market.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our travel trade partners across the United States – who continue to play a very important role in helping us to continue to grow visitor numbers to Ireland.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hugely important contribution of our tourism partners from the island of Ireland, who joined us on the ground in the US this year, helping to spread the word about why Ireland is such a great choice for a vacation.”

This year will be the fourth in a row that visitor numbers to Ireland have reached peak levels, with 1.6 Americans and Canadians gracing its shores.

General visitor numbers are also up in 2016 – statistics released by the CSO at the end of last month show that there was an 11.6 per cent increase in overseas visits to the country between January and October.

It is now on course to welcome nine million tourists this year but Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn has warned against complacency in the sector. Despite being pleased with the achievements, he urged those working within the tourism industry in Ireland to remain on their toes in the wake of unforeseen circumstances.

“Unexpected events during the year – such as Brexit – serve as a warning that we can take nothing in life for granted and are a good antidote to any creeping complacency in the tourism sector,” he said.

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