It's official: 2015 is best ever year for Irish tourism - and it's not over yet
The Fáilte Awakens
2015 has been the best ever year for Irish tourism, official data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has confirmed.
Today's data shows an increase of 14pc in overseas visits to Ireland in the first 11 months of 2015, with just over eight million vistors.
The figures are well ahead of Tourism Ireland's latest estimate of 7.9 million visitors, with December data still to come.
"Even without the visitor number figures for December these statistics shows that 2015 has already surpassed the previous record for visit numbers in a calendar year (2007)," said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.
The January to November data shows strong growth across all markets.
- Visits from Mainland Europe: +15.9pc
- Visits from North America: + 14.1pc
- Visits from Great Britain: +12.5pc
- Visits from the rest of the world: + 13.3pc
Earlier this month, Dublin Airport announced that 2015 had been a record year for passenger numbers, with over 23.5 million processed so far.
By 2025, the government aims to attract 10 million annual visitors to Ireland, with 250,000 people employed in tourism, Minister Donohoe added.
The latest figures comes as Tourism Ireland rolls out a marketing campaign based on Skellig Michael's appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"Ireland now welcomes 10pc of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations," commented Niall Gibbons, CEO of the organisation.
In 2016, it hopes to attract 8.2 million visitors, he added.