Tourism Ireland has welcomed the latest CSO tourism figures, showing inbound visitors are worth €110m more to the economy in the first four months of this year compared with 2017.
Meanwhile, total tourism and travel expenditure by Irish residents overseas increased by 10pc, up from €952m in the first quarter of 2017 to €1,047m now. When all fares are included, total expenditure on overseas trips increased by 10.7pc, from €1,173m to €1,299m.
Commenting on the CSO figures for the first quarter of 2018, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said they are “very strong, confirming that revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by over 16pc in the first three months of 2018 – an additional €110m for the Irish economy compared with Q1 in 2017. Total overseas visitors grew by 6.4pc and holiday visitors grew by 15pc, and revenue from holidaymakers grew by 24pc.”
He said that better connectivity is making Ireland more attractive.“Looking to the upcoming summer season, the air and sea access picture is very positive – with increases in the number of airline seats from Britain, Mainland Europe, North America and long-haul markets.
“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 last month, as well as the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing and the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, which have both kicked off this month.”
He added: “We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. We have a really comprehensive promotional programme under way around the world, working in close co-operation with industry partners across the island of Ireland, as well as with a wide range of international tour operators and with major air and sea carriers. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland. Our aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue for the island of Ireland to €6bn in 2018.”
On the other side of the stats, Irish residents are also travelling more abroad, with overseas trips up 1.9pc from 1.569m trips in the first quarter of 2017 to 1.599m this year.
And the average duration of overseas trips made by Irish residents increased from six nights in Quarter 1 2017 to 6.2 in Quarter 1 2018.