Tourism Ireland says 10% of all US travel to Europe is coming to Ireland

It says 7.9 million people will have visited here this year

Tourism Ireland, visitors, US, travel, air connections, Aer Lingus, routes, Niall Gibbons, currency, competitiveness, tourist spending

In this file photo, U.S. Airways and American Airlines planes are shown at gates at DFW International Airport in Grapevine, Texas | Image: LM Otero / AP/Press Association Images

The best ever year for tourism in Ireland is due in part to the currency gains from the US dollar and pound sterling, a great product and additional routes from the US.

That is according to Tourism Ireland, which says 7.9 million people will have visited here this year, spending €4.2bn.

It is hoping to build on this growth for 2016 and beyond.

Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show holiday visitors from overseas grew by 19% in the first nine months of 2015.

Tourism Ireland says revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland grew by almost 18% during this period - an additional €500m compared with the first nine months of 2014.

Total overseas visitors grew by almost 12% during January to September, or an additional 659,000 visitors.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons says there has been huge growth in the American market in particular.

"The air access position in the United States is very strong, and there's more connectivity into Ireland than there is to Germany in the United States now" he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"And that's a big collaborative effort - we're in 12 different gateways next summer".

"Aer Lingus have expanded into new gateways like Hartford, Connecticut, Los Angeles - and we're also seeing expansion through other services: United, Delta, etc".

"And 10% of all US travel to Europe is now coming to Ireland, that's an amazing statistic" he added.