CSO confirms final figures for 2017
+6.5% growth in overseas visitor spend and +8% growth in holiday visitors

Today’s CSO figures for 2017 are positive for our tourism industry. They confirm that revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by +6.5% last year. That's an additional €292 million for the Irish economy over 2016. Total overseas visitor numbers also increased by +3.5%; and within that, holiday visitors grew by +8% or an additional 322,000.holidaymakers.

Particularly welcome was the strong performance from North America, with visitor numbers up +16.3% and an increase of almost +14% in spending by US and Canadian visitors. Tourism Ireland’s market diversification strategy prioritised North America as a market which offers strong return on investment. We also saw growth in visitor numbers from Mainland Europe (almost +5%) and strong growth from long-haul markets, including Australia (almost +13%).

The decline in visitor numbers from Britain, -4.6% in 2017, is an ongoing concern. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. This year, Tourism Ireland will continue to target the ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever right in Britain now.

In 2018, we aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to the island of Ireland by a further +5%, to €6 billion. Our marketing campaigns have been under way across the world since the start of the year. Our promotions will receive a tremendous boost over the coming days, with our Global Greening initiative and a full programme of activities overseas around St Patrick’s Day. This traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season and we intend to take every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile.