Boost in number of overseas visitors to Ireland

Last month, the number of trips to Ireland by overseas visitors rose 3% to 784,700.

In the first three months of 2019, the number of trips made to Ireland by overseas residents increased by 5.5% when compared to the same period in 2018.

According to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today, the number of trips overseas made by Irish residents has also increased.

In March 2019, Irish residents made 634,000 trips overseas, a rise of 13.5%.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross welcomed today's figures saying that the revenue received from overseas tourists is vital for businesses and communities.

"Looking ahead to the remainder of 2019, I have asked the agencies to focus on the policy priorities of delivering sustainable growth that is regionally and seasonally dispersed," said Minister Ross.

"To this end, I very much welcome initiatives such as the Fáilte Ireland led Taste the Island campaign, which will encourage holidaymakers to visit events and sample local produce across the island outside peak season, while at the same time improving Ireland’s image as a food tourism destination in what is now a huge market segment internationally.

"I hope that the industry will be fully on board with this initiative come the autumn."

Responding to the figures, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland warned that it is still early days and that arrivals for the first quarter represent around 18% of total annual arrivals.

He added that growth in the month of March has slowed.

"Looking to the upcoming summer season and the air access picture, there will be a +3% increase in number of airline seats available, down from the original estimate of +6%," said Mr Gibbons.

"A range of factors in the marketplace have contributed to this decline, including poor yields and stiff competition across Mainland Europe.

We welcome the additional hotel capacity, which is facilitating growth; however, competitiveness remains key as we head into the peak season.

Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly, said that today's figures are reassuring.

"While this reflects the fact that international tourism is growing globally and Ireland continues to stand out as a destination, it is important to be cautious as we face a challenging year ahead," said Mr Kelly.

"The potential impact of Brexit on our economy is a serious concern for the country as a whole but its impact specifically on the tourism industry, which one of Ireland’s biggest employers, should not be underestimated."

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