The comments from Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, comes in the wake of the Brexit vote, which poses a great risk to the tourism industry.
He said that all retailers must remain competitive if Ireland was to continue to attract a high number of tourists, and that the country must retain its good-value image.
Latest figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office showed for the first half of the year, a 13% increase in foreign visitors to Ireland was recorded.
In actual numbers, the increase meant over half a million visitors more came here than the same period last year.
Specifically, there was a 16% increase in tourists from Britain, a 15% increase from North America, an 11% jump from mainland Europe, and a 28% increase in tourists from the Benelux countries.
Welcoming the figures, Transport and Tourism Minister Shane Ross said the Government was committed to delivering a strong growth in tourism.
“The very strong growth in overseas visits to Ireland during the first half of 2016 is welcome news for all of us, and especially for communities across the country where tourism is a mainstay of the local economy and an important source of employment,” he said.
“The quality of our overseas marketing has helped to ensure that interest in visiting Ireland remains high among potential visitors in our top source markets, and continued investment by Government in tourism developments like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, and Dublin — A Breath of Fresh Air, is helping to capture the imagination of potential visitors across the world and to keep Ireland in the international spotlight.”
Mr Gibbons said: “I am delighted to report growth of 13% in overseas visitors to Ireland for the first half of 2016, an additional 507,400 visitors when compared with January to June 2015.”
“Our aim is to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for Irish tourism and we have certainly seen an exceptional performance so far from North America — up 15% in the first half in 2015, making it another record year.
“Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe — particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations,” he said.
At the launch, Mr Ross spoke of his strong hope Ireland will win the rights to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
He brought a memo to the last Cabinet meeting before the summer break, and said he had secured the support of his ministerial colleagues to progress the all-Ireland bid to win the rights.
He said the Republic will fund 85% of the bid, while the Northern Assembly will fund the remaining 15%.