Hollywood interest helps Irish tourism's blockbuster year

Two connecting routes on the Wild Atlantic Way have also been launched...

Hollywood interest helps Irish tourism's blockbuster year

Niall Carson PA Archive/PA Images

Record numbers of tourists flocked to Ireland in 2016 - some 10.5 million visitors contributed €5.4bn to the Irish economy.

That's 11% more than last year as growth was recorded in all key markets as more tourists came from United States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, and Australia.

Tourism Ireland credits a number of promotional pushes for the increase, including the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, and a new Dublin campaign.

It also notes that Game of Thrones and annual 'Global Greening' initiative on St Patrick’s Day helped to promote the island.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: "Throughout 2016, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. A major focus of our activity was Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin and the Wild Atlantic Way; other important themes have included screen tourism and Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink."

PA

Two new touring routes connected to the Wild Atlantic Way have been unveiled by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan as part of a new pilot scheme from Fáilte Ireland to encourage visitors to discover the variety of inland visitor experiences as they travel along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Shannon Estuary Drive and the Burren Drive will be followed by more routes in 2016 as the tourism body hopes to capitalise on the success of the route along the West cost of the island.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan said:

"As the Wild Atlantic Way continues to grow three years since its launch, we can now start to develop additional experiences for visitors to enjoy and, vitally, through initiatives like this we can start to plan for a more even spread of visitors across the West of Ireland."