Tourism Ireland Welcomes Growth Of +11% In Overseas Visitors For First Eight Months Of 2011
Welcoming the CSO figures issued today for overseas visitor numbers to Ireland for the period January-August 2011, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “The growth in overseas visitor numbers of +11% for the first eight months of the year is very good news for everyone in the tourism industry. Particularly welcome is the increase in visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest and most important tourism market, which grew by +8.3% during this eight-month period. Visitors from North America grew by +12.6%; from Mainland Europe by +13%; and from Australia and developing markets by +17.5%.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “These figures represent a welcome return to growth in overseas tourism; and this more positive picture is supported by anecdotal reports from our tourism industry partners around Ireland – although we know that distribution of visitors is uneven and some areas are performing better than others.
“Following this encouraging growth in overseas visitors for the January-August period, current indications are that growth for the rest of this year may soften somewhat. The economic turmoil of recent months has brought increased uncertainty, affecting business and consumer confidence. Given the scale of the challenges and the ongoing uncertainty facing the global economy right now, travel and tourism looks likely to face a fairly cautious passage into 2012. However, Tourism Ireland is out in all the major markets fighting for business; our focus is on working our autumn campaigns as hard as possible to win every possible business opportunity for the remainder of the year and to give the island of Ireland a significant push as we head into 2012. People are increasingly opting for shorter holiday breaks, and autumn/winter is a popular time. In association with our tourism partners we have enticing autumn offerings, developed around festivals and themes such as food, music, literature and the arts.”
Overseas tourism has a critical role to play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% (approximately €3.1 billion) of all tourism revenue and has the capacity to deliver even more for Ireland as part of an export-led economic renewal. Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, contributing in excess of 4% of GNP and providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout the island.