According to the recent report of the first quarter of 2017, Ireland experienced an increase of over 20% in visitor numbers from the North American market which Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons described as ’spectacular.’
Visitor numbers from mainland Europe, particularly from Germany, Spain and France, grew by six percent according to the latest Central Statistic Office figures.
However, United Kingdom, which is Ireland’s largest visitor’s market, saw a decline of 6% in British visitors.
Gibbons said, “Certainly the next 18 months are ones to watch, particularly in the off-peak season. We’ve a very active campaign in Great Britain at the moment working very closely with the tour operators there and a very active advertising campaign at the moment too. But we have to make sure that we offer value for money to the British consumer who has essentially seen the prices of their holidays to the euro zone as a whole increase by 15% over the last year.”
Minister for Transport and Tourism Shane Ross shared that competitiveness in the tourism industry is vital at this point, with Tourism Ireland placing a greater focus on the ‘culturally curious’” audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. He said he hopes the British-Irish visa scheme will be retained in the long term.