- Overall visitor numbers:
- Australia – up 16pc
- North America – up 13pc
- Britain – down 7pc
A dramatic dip in the number of British visitors to Ireland has dragged down the overall number for the first three months of the year, despite strong showings from long haul markets. The figures, reflecting less spending power for British holidaymakers due to dips in Sterling, and the impact of Brexit, have just been released by the Central Statistics Office.
“Despite strong growth in visitor numbers from North America (+13pc) and from long-haul markets including Australia (+16pc), a decline of 7pc in British visitors has led
to an overall drop of 1pc in overseas visitors to Ireland in the first quarter of 2017,” said Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons.
“As anticipated, the challenge of Brexit for Irish tourism is very real and we’re beginning to see the impact of currency changes in the CSO results – which confirm a decline of 1pc in revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland in the first three months of 2017, including a decline of almost 8pc in revenue from British visitors. Holidaymakers are up from North America (+16pc), Mainland Europe (+6pc) and from long-haul markets (+37pc) but down from Britain (15pc).”
He said he is leading a delegation of “senior Irish tourism representatives” to London for a meeting with key players in the British travel trade. “We will discuss how Tourism Ireland and the tourism industry can best respond to the challenges posed by Brexit,” Niall Gibbons said.
He added: “It’s more competitive than ever before in the international marketplace. The movement of sterling versus the euro and dollar, since the UK referendum on Brexit, makes Great Britain a more competitive destination for visitors from Mainland Europe and the United States. We have observed our competitors – VisitBritain, VisitScotland and VisitWales – intensifying their operations across all of Ireland’s major tourism markets to capitalise on this. Therefore, competitiveness and our value for money message are more important than ever right now.”