In keeping with its targets announced in January, Tourism Ireland is aiming for a €6bn year as latest CSO figures showed that inbound visitor numbers have risen by 6.7pc from January to June.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue in 2018 to €6bn for the island of Ireland.” He said that the latest figures show “307,000 additional overseas arrivals when compared with the first six months of 2017. And, while it is encouraging that this was the best ever month of June for Irish tourism, with more than one million arrivals, there has been a slowdown in the rate of growth in June (+3.4pc)”.
He added that Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America and Mainland Europe as markets which offer a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure.
But he was more cautious about the latest small rebound in the struggling British market: “While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up 2.3pc, it’s too early to say if this represents a turnaround in the long-term trend. We’re very conscious that British visitor numbers are still down more than 4pc on the first six months of 2016. The impact of Brexit on outbound travel from Britain, therefore, remains a concern.”
New routes to Asia haven’t had time to make an impression so far, with visitor numbers from Australia and developing markets up just 1.1pc from January to June. But Mr Gibbons added: “We look forward to seeing the impact of new long-haul flights on Irish tourism this summer – including the new Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing and the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, which both kicked off in June.”
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