Spotlight: Our largest indigenous industry and what you should know about it
As part of this month’s Independent.ie Industry Spotlight, we take a look at the key numbers in Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.
The tourism industry is responsible for in excess of 4pc of Gross National Product in the Republic of Ireland and employs approximately 281,000 people aross the island, according to figures from Tourism Ireland.
So far this year Ireland has welcomed an additional 84,700 tourists this year, a 7.9pc increase on the same period last year.
In total there were approximately 10.65 million overseas visitors to Ireland last year, generating a massive €5.78bn in revenue for the economy.
Last year saw especially strong growth in tourism numbers from North America, with visitor numbers to Ireland from the region increasing by over 16pc.
The number of North American visitors is now so significant that Ireland now welcomes one in ten of all American visitors to Europe.
As well as the North American market increasing, last year also saw record numbers of tourists arriving in Ireland from Australia and developing markets (up almost 13pc); and from Mainland Europe, up 5pc year-on-year, with important markets like Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordic Region all recording good growth, Tourism Ireland said.
The strong performance of the sector has been helped by increases in direct air access to Ireland. In addition, the all-Ireland body said that its market diversification strategy has been a key factor in the increased numbers.
Looking East, in 2017, 70,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland an increase of around 10,000 on 2016, and these numbers are expected to continue with the launch of direct flights between Hong Kong and Dublin this summer, as well as direct flights between Dublin and Beijing, with a service from Dublin Airport set for take-off on June 12.
Hainan, China’s largest independent airline, will fly the Dublin-Beijing route four times a week using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, it says.