Irish tourism set for a record year, but where do our visitors come from?
Bienvenue! Willkommen! Bienvenida!
Published 07/08/2015 | 11:59
2015 is looking like a record year for Irish tourism, with CSO data confirming an 11.7pc rise in visitor numbers.
Those figures reflect growth between January and June of this year, a period during which almost 3.9 million visitors entered Ireland.
With the peak summer months yet to factor, and Dublin Airport experiencing its busiest month ever this July, it's no exaggeration to suggest that 2015 could be the first year overseas visitors hit the magical eight million mark.
Here's where the visitors came from:
Remember, the above figures reflect just six months (Jan-June).
The biggest takeaway, and one of the stories of the recovery, has been the bounce back in visitors from the UK - Ireland's single most important overseas tourism market. GB figures tanked during the recession, but are thankfully rising again.
Elsewhere, North American visits continue to surge, thanks to marketing initiatives like The Gathering and Wild Atlantic Way, a boom in transatlantic flights from Dublin and Shannon airports, and the broader economic recovery.
It's not just air passengers, either. Dublin Port alone expects to welcome 100 cruise liners in 2015 - bearing as many as 200,000 passengers.
It's also worth noting that visitor numbers are rising despite the (ahem) 'mixed' weather - though Tourism Ireland is always quick to point out that tourists don't come for our sunshine; they come for our landscape and people.
Italian visitors are up a whopping 32pc, though they remain a relatively low proportion of overall visitors. Nevertheless, benvenuti!