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    Record Year for Overseas Visitors in 2017

    Record Year for Overseas Visitors in 2017

    Total overseas visitors to Ireland in 2017 grew by 3.6% according to figures released by the CSO today.

    Just over 9.9 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2017, the highest number on record reflecting an increase of 3.6% on 2016.

    • Visitor numbers from Britain declined by 5.0% to 3.7 million visitors reflecting a decrease of just under 200,000 visitors on 2016.
    • North American visitors at 2.1 million were up by 16.2% resulting in just under an extra 300,000 visitors to Ireland in 2017.
    • Mainland Europe grew by 5.5% to 3.5 million visitors in 2017, with countries Spain (+12.2%) and the Nordics (+13.4%) returning the strongest growth.
    • Visitors from all Other Areas increased by 12.6% with strong growth coming from long haul areas.

    Responding to today’s CSO figures, Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development with Fáilte Ireland said:

    “This set of full year figures for 2017 confirms what tourism businesses have been telling us throughout the last year.  Britain was down, Europe was up and North America was spectacular. Obviously the drop in our largest overseas market (in terms of volume) is very concerning and this year will be equally challenging.  We are working with hundreds of businesses throughout the country to help them ‘Get Brexit Ready’ and target those pools of best potential within Britain.  We are also working with businesses to diversify and gear their business towards other markets which we expect to be stronger – Europe and the US obviously but also emerging markets like China.

    “Last year, 2017, is now over and done.  At the beginning of every year the clock is reset to zero and tourism has to pick itself up and win business all over again.  If we are to sustain the impressive growth of previous years, we will need to continue to invest in visitor attractions and experiences; we will need to ensure that our offering on the ground appeals to those overseas markets with best potential; and crucially tourism businesses will need to maintain their competitiveness in a world of volatile exchange rates and strong consumer preferences for value for money.”

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