Boost for Irish tourism from European visitors

Boost for Irish tourism from European visitors
Chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons

German and Italian visitors have bolstered the burgeoning North American tourist market as almost 10 million people -- just under 7% growth -- came to Ireland since January.

Official figures from the CSO showed that in November, trips to Ireland by overseas residents increased by 3.2% to 741,000, increasing 22,800 compared to a year earlier.

British visitors, who have dwindled since the Brexit vote in June 2016 with sterling weakening, rose in November by 0.8% to just under 300,000, while American and Canadian visitors increased almost 6% to 144,900.

Visitors from Europe increased 2.7% to 257,600 in November, with notable growth from Germany at more than 19%, and Italy with more than 11%.

European visitors increased by 9% from January through November compared to the same period last year.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons said: "A number of factors are working in our favour, including more airline seats than ever before, from more gateways across the US and Canada.

Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America and Mainland Europe, as markets which offer a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure.

There was also an increase in visitors from Australia and emerging markets like China, which were up almost 7%.

Mr Gibbons said that while a rise in British visitors was welcome, it did not disguise the impact Brexit was having on the industry.

"While we welcome the fact that arrivals from Britain are up 1%, the continued uncertainty around Brexit, and its impact on outbound travel from Britain, remains a real concern," he said.

Tourism Ireland is launching a new campaign in the US Britain, France and Germany this week, Mr Gibbons said.

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