Latest CSO figures reveal that Ireland’s tourism boom has continued into the first four months of the year – with the North American figures maintaining their rise.
And Ryanair’s push into the German market has borne fruit for Irish tourism, with figures up almost a quarter. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO confirm that overseas visitor numbers increased by 7.3pc during the January-April period, around 191,100 additional overseas arrivals when compared with the first four months of 2017.
“North America continues to perform extremely well – with arrivals up 13.6pc, an extra 61,100 US and Canadian visitors. We’ve also seen excellent results from Mainland Europe, up over 12pc on January-April last year, with particularly strong performances from Germany (24.3pc) and Italy (21.9pc).
He said Tourism Ireland “has prioritised Mainland Europe and North America, as markets which offer a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure”.
Mr Gibbons said the big fall-off in British visitors due to Brexit concerns and currency swings has levelled off, but that market remains an issue.
“While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up very slightly (1.1pc), this doesn’t represent a turnaround in the long-term trend. The impact of Brexit on outbound travel from Britain, therefore, remains a 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. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever in Britain this year.”
And he believes inbound figures overall will increase due to better connectivity. “We’re already seeing the impact of increased Ryanair services from Germany. We particularly look forward to seeing the impact of new long-haul flights on Irish tourism this summer – including the new Aer Lingus service from Seattle to Dublin, which began earlier this month, as well as the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing and the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, both due to begin in the coming weeks.
“In terms of ferry services, there will be an increase in the number of sailings and capacity between Mainland Europe and Ireland this year.”
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