Ireland welcomed more than 8.5 million overseas visitors between January and October – up by 3.1% year-on-year – despite the continuing decline from Great Britain.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland chief executive, said: “This represents growth of more than a quarter of a million additional visitors on the same ten-month period last year, coming on the back of a record performance in 2016 and years of solid growth in overseas tourism.
“We have seen exceptional results from North America this year – up 16.4% on January to October last year.
“I also welcome the growth in visitor numbers from Australia and developing markets (14.7%) and from Mainland Europe (4.4%).
“Increases in direct air access, plus our market diversification strategy, have been key factors.”
He said the continuing decline from Britain remains a concern, and the numbers for January-October were down by 6.1%.
“The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets,” he said.
“Tourism Ireland will continue to place a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. However, competitiveness and the value for money message remain more important than ever in Britain right now.”
• Tourism Ireland estimates that 1.2 million people in London, Birmingham and Glasgow will see images of Ireland’s Ancient East on street panels over the coming weeks.
Its latest campaign in Britain started on November 27, and aims to drive awareness of Ireland’s Ancient East.
As well as digital advertisements on more than 350 street panels, there will be video advertisements on Facebook and email marketing.
Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Great Britain is a vital market for tourism to the island of Ireland. It delivers 47% of all overseas visitors and around 30% of all overseas tourism revenue.
“However, the decline in the value of sterling is certainly a challenge for Irish tourism from Britain right now.
“Our programme of promotional activity continues to year-end – keeping Ireland ‘front of mind’ with British travellers and helping to position us well for 2018.”