TRAVEL GAZETTE – The year 2015 has been the best year ever for overseas tourism to Ireland, with an estimated 7.9 million visitors or 11 percent increase over 2014, according to official figures .
The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that so far this year, overseas tourists spent 4.2 billion euros (4.61 billion U.S. dollars), up 16 percent over 2014.
The CSO figures also showed that holiday visitors from overseas grew by 19 percent in the first nine months of 2015, an extra half a million holidaymakers.
“More importantly for the Irish economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by 18 percent during this period, an additional half a billion euro compared with the first nine months of 2014,” the CSO said.
According to the CSO figures, growth has come from all markets, with theUnited States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia all turning in record performances once again this year. Great Britain, Ireland’s largest tourism market, has also seen strong growth of 11 percent in 2015.
“Tourism has been a priority for this government from the outset, and we have long recognized the contribution of overseas tourism to the Irish economy,” said Paschal Donohoe, minister for transport, tourism and sport.
“We are determined to maintain the positive momentum seen in 2015,” he said.
Under the Irish government’s marketing plan for overseas visitors, next year, Ireland expects to welcome a record 8.2 million overseas visitors and achieve a further 5.0 percent growth in overseas tourism revenue.