Overseas visits soared in final months of 2015, new figures reveal
October to December
Foreign visitors made two million trips to our shores between October and the end of December, the latest CSO figures reveal.
Overall, visitor numbers rose by 17.8pc in the three-month period closing out 2016, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Visitors from the UK made close to a million trips alone, (884,000), followed by other Europeans (380,000), and North Americans (305,000).
Travelling for a holiday or leisure was the most common reason for visits, followed by visiting friends and relatives and visiting for business.
Travellers are also staying longer, with the number of nights spent by overseas visitors increasing by 14.9pc over the same period last year.
They are also spending more. Total tourism and travel earnings increased by 20.6pc from the previous quarter to €1,148m from €952m.
Even when fares are excluded, the total expenditure is still up 22.8pc over the period, increasing from a spend of €711m between July and September to €873m in the fourth quarter.
On an annual basis, 8.6 million trips were made to Ireland by overseas visitors in 2015, compared to 7.6 million in 2014, an increaser of 13.7pc.
Irish residents, meanwhile, took almost 7 million overseas trips in 2015 (6.965), compared with 6.5 million trips in 2014, an increase of 6.9pc.
The average stay was just over a week at 7.6 nights in 2015 compared with an average of eight nights in 2014.
Overall, Irish tourists abroad spent €4,695m last year, an increase of 7.5pc over 2014.