Spain is now Ireland’s 5th most important tourism market
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Madrid this week where he meet with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
On Thursday, Enda Kenny met with Tourism Ireland staff, as well as leading Spanish tour operators and airlines who programme and sell holidays to Ireland.
Spain is now Ireland’s 5th most important tourism market, as travel by Spaniards to Ireland has grown significantly over the past 15 years.
In 2000, 90,000 Spanish visitors came to Ireland, while in 2015 a record 340,000 Spanish visitors took the trip to Ireland.
Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and will roll out a busy programme of promotions right throughout 2017; the organisation is targeting growth of +4% in Spanish visitors to Ireland this year.
There are a number of factors working in Ireland's favour including strong air connectivity, with a significant increase in the number of direct flights to Ireland over the past few years; and interest in visiting Ireland remains high among Spanish travellers, with Spaniards consistently ranking Ireland in their ‘top ten’ destinations to visit.
Speaking about the increase in Spanish visitors, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said "2016 is set to be the best year ever for Spanish visitor numbers to Ireland, with the latest CSO figures showing growth of over +12% for the January to September period.
"Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive programme of promotional activity once again throughout 2017. We will work closely with our tourism partners – at home and in Spain – to build on the growth of the past few years.”