Record year for tourism confirmed – Ross and O’Donovan

Wednesday 21 December 2016


Record year for tourism confirmed – Ross and O’Donovan


Figures for 11months of 2016 surpass record numbers for all of 2015


Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, today welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which showed an increase of 11.0% in overseas visits to Ireland for the first eleven months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015.


Commenting on the figures, Minister Ross said: “The figures published today confirm that 2016 has been the best ever year for Irish tourism, with overseas visitor numbers for the first 11 months of 2016 (8,919,700 visits) surpassing the record number of visits achieved over 12 months in 2015 (8,643,100).

The record number of visits to Ireland has had a positive influence on the associated revenue. Spending by overseas visitors to Ireland in the first 9 months of 2016 was up 10% compared to the same period in 2015.”


Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:


  • At 8,919,700 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 11.0% in the first eleven months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. 
  • Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 8.8% for January to November 2016, to 3,096,300 visits
  • North America registered an increase of 18.3% for January – November 2016 (1,699,100 visits)
  • Visits from Great Britain were up by 11.1% for January – November 2016 (3,620,500 visits)

·         Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 503,700 for the first eleven months of 2016 (representing an increase of 1.9%).

Minister O'Donovan stated: “In welcoming this very strong performance in overseas tourism, I was also pleased to note the Household Travel Survey results published last week by the CSO, which show that our home holiday market is also growing.  Domestic holiday trips and related expenditure were each up by over 3% in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period last year. When considering the overseas and domestic visit statistics together, it is clear that Ireland's tourism offering continues to appeal to holidaymakers from home and away.  I am confident, with the continued collaboration between the industry and the tourism agencies to strengthen the tourism product and enhance the visitor experience, we can sustain positive performances for many years to come”.


Commenting on the CSO Overseas Travel figures, Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: ” “Today’s figures indicate that this was the best ever January to November period for overseas visitors to Ireland, with almost 9 million arrivals, representing an increase of +11% – 884,400 additional overseas visitors when compared with the first eleven months of 2015. It is clear that 2016 will be another record-breaking year for Irish tourism. We have seen exceptional results from North America for January to November – up more than +18% on the same eleven-month period in 2015. I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (over +11%). And Mainland Europe has also turned in another excellent performance (almost +9%), with important markets like Spain, France and Germany all recording good growth. Tourism Ireland has a number of late-season campaigns under way right now, to kick-start our promotional effort for 2017. The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2017 by +4.5%, to €5.7 billion for the island of Ireland.”


Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, welcomed today’s figures and added:

“From Fáilte Ireland’s point of view, in terms of performance, these figures indicate that we are looking at close to nine million visitors this year which is a record-breaking performance. It’s been a phenomenal year driven by a number of factors. We’ve seen lots of further growth in terms of access to this country and that’s really helpful. Prevailing conditions in a lot of our overseas markets have been favourable and, to be fair, the Irish tourist industry has remained competitive. However, looking back on the year, a lot of things have happened that we couldn’t have predicted. In particular, I think that Brexit sticks out in that regard. Anything that affects our nearest overseas market like that is something that you simply can’t ignore.  Looking to 2017, the tourism sector will need to shift its focus towards Continental Europe – a much more stable market with great further potential - to sustain growth.”


Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 01 604 1099 / 01 604 1093

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