More tourists are visiting Ireland - and spending more money

Irish people are spending less time, and money, abroad

More tourists are visiting Ireland - and spending more money

Tourists in Dublin's Temple Bar | Image:

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show revenue from overseas visitors grew by 6.5% last year.

That is an additional €292m for the Irish economy over 2016.

While total overseas visitor numbers also grew by 3.5%. Within that, holiday visitors grew by 8% - or an additional 322,000 holidaymakers.

The CSO says the number of nights spent in Ireland by overseas travellers increased by 13.4% the fourth quarter last year compared with the same period of the previous year.

The average duration of overseas trips also rose - from 6.4 nights to 6.9 nights over the same period.

Total tourism and travel earnings from overseas travellers to Ireland increased by 10.9% - increasing from €1,242m to €1,377m.

The CSO says when fares are excluded, total expenditure increased from €930m to €1,046m - an increase of 12.5% over the period

Tourism Ireland says strong performance from North America was 'particularly welcomed' - with visitor numbers up 16.3% and an increase of almost 14% in spending by US and Canadian visitors.

There was also growth in visitor numbers from mainland Europe (almost 5%) and strong growth from long-haul markets - including Australia (almost 13%).

British decline

But Tourism Ireland says the decline in visitor numbers from Britain, down 4.6% in 2017, is "an ongoing concern".

It says: "The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets.

"This year, Tourism Ireland will continue to target the 'culturally curious' audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. Competitiveness and value for money remain more important than ever right in Britain now."

While the number of trips made by Irish residents overseas increased by 3.4%, from 1.699 million trips to 1.756 million.

The average duration of overseas trips made by Irish residents remained the same at 6.0 nights.

And total tourism and travel expenditure by Irish residents overseas fell by 1.0% - down from €1,118m to €1,107m.