Record breaking year for tourism in 2016

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Record breaking year for tourism in 2016

It has been a great year for tourism and there are plans to highlight iconic tourism experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way even more in 2017.

Official data on overseas travel for 2016 from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has shown a 10.9% increase in overseas visits to Ireland for 2016 compared to 2015. There was a record breaking total of 9,584,400 visits to Ireland in 2016.

 Today’s CSO figures on Overseas Travel show:

- At over 9.584 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 10.9% in 2016 compared to 2015. 
- Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 8.5% in 2016, to 3,302,100 visits
- North America registered an increase of 19.4% for 2016 (1,808,000 visits)
- Visits from Great Britain were up by 10.6% for 2016 (3,924,100 visits)
- Visits from the rest of the world (mostly long-haul and developing markets) totalled 550,200 for 2016 (representing an increase of 2.2%). 

Commenting on the CSO Overseas Travel figures, Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “I am delighted to report that growth was recorded from all of our markets around the world, with exceptional results from North America (+19.4% on 2015). Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations. We have also seen record numbers arriving here from Mainland Europe (+8.5%); and I also welcome the continued strong performance from Britain (+10.6%), our largest market for overseas tourism. Our focus now is on the year ahead.

"Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for the island of Ireland around the world throughout 2017, highlighting iconic experiences like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Dublin and Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2017 by +4.5%, to €5.7 billion, for the island of Ireland.