Number of visitors to Ireland increases by over 10 per cent

Sector needs to work hard to ‘maximise tourism growth’ says Fáilte Ireland CEO

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohoe interviewed at the unveiling of the restored Molly Malone statue. The minister said the latest CSO tourism figures “show that Irish tourism is having, yet again, another excellent year”. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohoe interviewed at the unveiling of the restored Molly Malone statue. The minister said the latest CSO tourism figures “show that Irish tourism is having, yet again, another excellent year”. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 13:50

The number of overseas visitors to Ireland increased over ten per cent in the first half of this year, according to figures released today.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released figures showing a marked increase in trips to Ireland compared to the number of trips in first six months of 2013.

Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn said the numbers could signify “our best tourism season since the downturn began”.

In the second quarter of this year, the total number of trips to Ireland increased by over 12 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Trips by residents of Great Britain increased by over 15 per cent, while trips by North Americans were up almost 13 per cent.

Tourism minister Paschal Donohoe said the figures “show that Irish tourism is having, yet again, another excellent year. Last year was the year of the Gathering and the challenge was to grow visitor numbers even further in 2014.”

Mr Donohoe attributed the increase to measures taken by the government to increase tourism, and said he hopes the trend will continue for the rest of the year.

“In this regard, I will be finalizing a new Tourism Policy Statement later this year which will set ambitious targets for the tourism sector in the period to 2025 and outline a range of policy priorities to achieve these targets,” he said.

Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring called the numbers a “remarkable turnaround” and said: “We are not resting on our laurels and August alone will include lots for our visitors to see and do including this week’s Galway Races followed by the Dublin Horse Show and the Croke Park Classic at the end of the month.”

Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland said the company is “determined to ensure that the tourism growth continues” by promoting initiatives like the Wild Atlantic Way and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener on August 30th.

Mr Quinn of Fáilte Ireland said the key challenge to tourism growth over the next few years will be complacency, and the sector needs to work hard to “maximise tourism growth and to ensure the sector delivers the additional revenue and jobs which this country needs”.