Ireland saw overseas visitor numbers soar by 13% year-on-year during the first half of 2016, putting the country on track for another record-breaking tourism year.
However, the Brexit vote in the UK has hit the exchange rate, making holidays in the eurozone about 10% more expensive for British travellers, so Tourism Ireland will target Brits in its autumn promotional campaign.
Commenting on the referendum result, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Although it is still too soon to fully understand the long-term implications for tourism to the island of Ireland, we know that economic uncertainty can cause consumers to be more cautious with their discretionary spend, including holidays.
“However, the British market will remain of significant importance for all of us.
“We will shortly launch an extensive global autumn campaign, which will include an extensive programme of promotions in Britain, to boost business in the shoulder and off-peak season.”
The number of overseas trips to Ireland in the first six months of 2016 was almost 4.4 million, up 13%.
Visits from Great Britain were up by 15.7% to almost 1.9 million.
Tourism minister Shane Ross said: “The quality of our overseas marketing has helped to ensure that interest in visiting Ireland remains high among potential visitors in our top source markets, and continued investment by government in tourism developments like the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air is helping to capture the imagination of potential visitors across the world and to keep Ireland in the international spotlight.”
Other factors in the island of Ireland’s success include its strong online and social media presence; new air routes; and films and TV shows featuring Irish locations, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones.
Tourism Ireland’s autumn promotional schedule will include travel trade and media blitzes in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle; sales missions to the Middle East, India, New Zealand and Australia; ‘Flavours of Ireland’ – targeting long-haul markets through influential UK inbound tour operators; and World Travel Market London (November 7-9).
Pictured celebrating the first-half success are (from left) Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland; tourism minister Shane Ross; and Joan O’Shaughnessy, vice chairman of Tourism Ireland, at the mid-year review of overseas tourism.