Overseas visits increase between December and February
Almost 250,000 extra visits made to Ireland but rate of growth for outward tourism slows
Pier jumping in Creevy Co Donegal. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times
There were almost a quarter of a million extra trips made to Ireland between December and February this year compared to the same period last year, according to latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures.
The latest travel statistics indicate that while there has been a continued increase in the number of trips to Ireland during the three-month period, the rate of growth in trips abroad by Irish residents appears to have slowed somewhat.
Overall, there were almost 1.7 million visits made to Ireland during the period, which included the busy festive season, while some 1.36 million overseas trips were made from Ireland. Both figures showed increases compared to 12 months ago.
The 17.1 per cent increase in visits to Ireland is considerably higher than the 10 per cent rate of growth seen between December 2014 and February 2015.
There were almost 100,000 additional trips made from Ireland between December 2015 and February 2016, which is less than the 122,200 increase recorded for the same period a year ago.
Most tourist markets recorded strong growth with 146,600 extra visits from Britain over the three months, almost 70,000 extra visits from the rest of Europe and an increase of 22,900 visits from North America.
The only geographical areas that showed a reduced traffic to Ireland was Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, where the number of visits fell from 37,300 between December 2014 and February 2015 to 35,900 in the latest figures.
The ongoing influx of visitors to Ireland will come as welcome news to the State tourism body Fáilte Ireland after a record-breaking year in 2015, which saw 8.6 million trips made to Ireland.
This surpassed previous records set during the boom years of the mid to late 2000s, but the total for overseas trips by Irish residents still lags some way behind the almost 8 million made in 2008.