Friday 24 May 2019

Flying high: Global tourism back at 2010 levels as Ireland welcomes nine million overseas visitors

The big picture

Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Last year saw the highest growth in international tourist visits around the world since 2010.

That's according to the World Tourism Organisation 'Tourism Highlights' report for 2017.

Globally, tourists last year spent a total of $1.34trn (€1.2trn trillion). The bulk of that was in the United States, where visitors spent $210bn.

The increase in tourist numbers was driven by sustained travel demand for destinations across all world regions, including a firm recovery of regions that had been suffering from security challenges in recent years.

Ireland welcomed nine million overseas tourists in 2017, spending a total of €4.9bn during their visit.

Dublin was the most popular destination, welcoming 5.9 million tourists from abroad, who spent a total of €2bn during their stay in the city, according to data from Fáilte Ireland.

This year, overseas visitors to Ireland are up 7.8pc in the first eight months of 2018, compared to the same period last year, with the country welcoming just over 7.2 million overseas visitors from January to August.

According to Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, the success of the tourism industry in Ireland has been due to a mixture of "good planning at State level, and the work of an innovative industry".

France - with 87 million visitors in 2017 - attracted more tourists than any other nation, despite recent terrorist attacks.

Spain climbed from third to second place in visits, and held onto second position in receipts to become the world's second-largest destination by both international tourist visits and receipts.

European countries dominated the top 10 list of most-visited destinations in the world, with last year marking the eighth year in a row of sustained growth in the European tourist market, according to the report.

Tourist visits into Europe grew 8pc last year, with 52 million more visitors than in the previous year. This growth in visits was mirrored by the spending receipts of tourists, which also increased by 8pc.

Travel demand increased from virtually all of Europe's source markets, both inside and outside the region, fuelling inbound growth across Europe. The recovery of the Russian outbound market in particular, benefited many destinations across the continent.

All destinations in Northern Europe - which includes Ireland - reported growth, including the UK, despite the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

The depreciation of the pound contributed to the UK's results, making the destination more affordable, the report found.

In addition to the tourism receipts earned across the various destinations globally, tourism also generated another $240bn from international passenger transport services rendered to non-residents.

Irish Independent

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