The tourism market was worth €7.5bn to the country last year, up some €900m on 2014, according to figures released by Fáilte Ireland.
The tourism body’s preliminary figures for 2015 found that overseas tourist visits to Ireland grew by 13.1% to 8m, while short-haul markets in Britain and mainland Europe recorded respective growth of 11.3% and 15.7%.
Fáilte Ireland said that North America and other long-haul markets performed “very strongly”, increasing by 12.9% and 11.7%, respectively.
Britain remains the largest source market, representing 41.6% of all overseas tourists.
Yesterday Tourism Ireland, the body responsible for marketing the island of Ireland abroad, held a Brexit briefing meeting for members of the industry.
“Although it is still too soon to fully understand the long-term implications of Brexit for tourism to the island of Ireland, we had a very useful discussion with tourism industry leaders,” said chief executive Niall Gibbons.
“The British market will remain of significant importance for all of us in the short, medium, and long-term. We have committed to continued monitoring of developments over coming months.
“But, for now, it is very much business as usual. Tourism Ireland’s €4m promotional campaign will continue to roll out in Britain from now until the end of the year, to highlight the island of Ireland to prospective visitors and maintain the strong growth we have seen in recent years.”
Domestic tourism was calculated as being worth €1.5bn to Ireland last year, with Irish holiday-goers taking 1.5m trips within Ireland last year.
Overseas tourist visits to Ireland in 2015 grew by 13.1% to 8m in 2015, half of which were leisure holiday visits.
August was the most popular month for overseas tourists, with 12% of visitors coming to Ireland during the month.
Hiking and cross-country walking was the most popular activity among overseas tourists; over 1.6m engaged in this pastime while in Ireland compared to the second most popular activity, cycling, which brought 355,000 visitors.
Golf was the third most popular activity with 198,000 participants.
More than one in four domestic tourists listed visiting houses or castles as the activity they engaged in, while 37% of bednights that were taken by domestic holiday-goers were in hotels, with 20% taken by self-catering.
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