Tuesday 20 March 2018

Number of visitors travelling to Ireland are increasing but numbers from Britain are down

Dublin Airport Stock image
Dublin Airport Stock image
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The total number of trips to Ireland from people overseas increased to 2,967,600 between May and July of this year, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office.

The figure represents a 4.4pc increase year-on-year.

This increase was driven by residents of European countries other than Britain, which increased by 5.4pc to 1,075,500.

Trips by residents of Great Britain decreased by 3.8pc to 978,700 during the three month period when compared with the same period in 2016.

Trips by residents of North America to Ireland also experienced a large increase, with 12.3pc more visitors to Ireland from North American in the three months to 31 July 2017 compared with the same period last year.

Read more: Tourism sector paying heavy price for Brexit

In addition the number of residents visiting Ireland from other areas, that is people not from the EU and North America, increased by 17.1pc to 199,900, according to the CSO data.

Meanwhile the total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the period May - July 2017 increased by 5.1pc year-on-year to 2,367,500.

So far in the seven months to 31 July 2017 the total number of trips to Ireland from residents outside of Ireland has increased by 3.1pc when compared with the same period in 2016, while Irish residents' trips overseas during the seven month period increased by 7.9pc year-on-year.

Commenting on the announcement from the CSO, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross TD, said he was "pleased" with the information from the CSO which he said confirmed the on-going strong performance in overseas visitors.

"As the year has progressed, we have seen evidence of the success of the market diversification strategy which Tourism Ireland has adopted in recent years," Minister Ross said.

The minister did express his concern in relation to the numbers from Great Britain which he said "remains a concern" however he said he was confident that the efforts of both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland would help to minimise losses from this market, "whilst at the same time encouraging and facilitating visitors from other sources."

However, the CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, was more direct in his assessment of the falling number of people from Great Britain to Ireland, saying that the figures added further confirmation that Brexit has already become a real problem for Irish tourism.

"Although overall visitor numbers are up 3pc for the year to date, visitors from Britain, our largest source market, are down a sharp 6pc. The impact of Brexit is already a reality for the Irish tourism industry and we estimate that the Brexit effect will cost Irish tourism at least €100m in 2017," Mr O’Mara Walsh said.

He went on to call on the Government to recognise this problem in the upcoming budget and provide support for Irish tourism "through maintaining competitiveness and restoring tourism budgets."

Online Editors

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