Ten million tourists visited Ireland this year, spending €5.78bn

Tourism Ireland says Brexit will present challenges next year

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations

 

More than 10 million people visited Ireland this year, spending €5.78 billion, Tourism Ireland has said.

Chief executive Niall Gibbons said 2017 would be another record year for tourism, surpassing all previous records and coming on the back of a number of years of strong growth.

“We have seen growth from all our main markets around the world, except for Britain, with record numbers arriving here from North America, mainland Europe, Australia and developing markets,’’ he added.

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2018 marketing plans on Monday, Mr Gibbons said next year’s target was a 5 per cent increase in revenue to €6 billion and a 2 per cent increase in visitors to 10.8 million.

Mr Gibbons said the tourism market was heading into next year in a position of some strength, based on this year’s success.

“Our aim is to position Ireland as a year-round, must-visit destination and to ensure that the contribution of overseas tourism to the economy continues to expand,” he added.

Mr Gibbons said next year would undoubtedly present challenges, not least Brexit, which was likely to continue to impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from Britain.

“The recent decline in visitor numbers from Britain, coupled with other geopolitical challenges, means that, now more than ever, it is essential to invest year-round marketing programmes, as well as in research, to understand consumers’ travel intentions,’’ he added.

He said the depreciation of sterling against the euro meant value for money would continue to be a key message for Tourism Ireland in Britain next year.

Work with its industry partners would also focus on highlighting the ease of getting to the island of Ireland, he added.