Tourists' visits to Ireland up 7.6% in 2018

Biggest increase in visitors from North America and Europe

The number of tourists visiting Ireland for the first five months of this year increased by 7.6 per cent on the same period last year , according to the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The new figures, released on Wednesday, show the State had a total of 3.8 million visitors from overseas so far this year, with the largest boost from North America with an increase of 12.4 per cent and and mainland Europe at 12.3 per cent.

Visitors from Germany grew 26 per cent, Italy by 16 per cent and Britain by 2.4 per cent to a total 1.47 million.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin said the increase of tourists from Europe and North America was "particularly impressive".


“I am also very pleased to see growth from Great Britain ... we have managed to reverse the decline in visitors from that market,” he said.

" Events such as the recent royal visit, during which I was honoured to welcome the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Kerry, are a great boost in that regard. Nevertheless, I am very much aware that challenges lie ahead regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations."

Fáilte Ireland's chief executive Paul Kelly said the key focus for Irish tourism must be to sustain the latest performance.

“Anecdotal evidence from the industry is telling us that the current good spell of weather is also generating a domestic dividend with increased home holiday activity,” he said.

“All of this is great news in a sector that sustains 235,000 jobs and generates €1.7 billion in exchequer funding - €1,000 for every household in Ireland.”

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is an Irish Times journalist