Tourism Ireland highlights Brexit challenges in 2017

Tourism Ireland plans major promotions in continental Europe and North America in 2017, as it builds on a record-breaking 2016.

This year is set to be the best ever for Irish tourism, as 10.5 million people will have visited the island of Ireland, up 11% on 2015.

For 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to increase overseas tourism revenue by 4.5% in 2017 – adding €5.7 billion to the Irish and Northern Irish economies.

However, Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland chief executive, said: “2017 may present some challenges – not least Brexit, which is likely to impact on consumer confidence, which in turn may have consequences for travel to all destinations, including Ireland, from Britain.”

A new advertisement highlighting the island of Ireland will air from January 2017 in 23 markets around the world – including on national television across the US and in cinemas in Britain.

Shane Ross TD, tourism minister, said: “We know that the result of the UK referendum on EU membership may bring challenges for tourism in 2017.

“Therefore it will be more important than ever that Ireland stands out as a top tourist destination in our key overseas markets.

“This work to grow interest in visiting Ireland generally will be supported by promotion of our iconic holiday experiences: Ireland’s Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air.

“Tourism Ireland will also continue to work with our airports and airlines, to encourage the creation of new routes and expansion of existing services to the regions, as part of its regional and seasonal dispersion strategy.”

Gibbons said: “2016 will be the best year ever for Irish tourism, surpassing all previous records and coming on the back of a number of years of strong growth.

“We have seen growth from all our markets around the world – with record numbers arriving here from North America, Mainland Europe, and Australia and developing markets.

“Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to capitalise on our connections with Star Wars and Game of Thrones.”

Pictured: Skellig Islands, location for the latest Star Wars film.