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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

More Americans visiting Ireland but British tourists are keeping away

Tourism Ireland said the decline in sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors.


THE NUMBER OF tourists visiting Ireland from North America grew in the first half of this year, while numbers coming from Britain declined, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figures confirm overall growth of 4.2% in overseas visitors to Ireland compared to the first half of last year. This growth has come from North America (up 21.6%), mainland Europe and developing markets.

Tourism Ireland said today that increased air access to Ireland contributed to the overall growth. Air access was up 4% this summer due to the introduction of a number of new routes from the country’s main markets.

The decline in the value of sterling has impacted on the number of British visitors to Ireland, which was down 6.4% in the first half of the year.

“It is a concern, but not a surprise, that the number of visits from Britain has fallen in the early part of the year as a result of the sterling depreciation following the Brexit referendum. There is no doubt that competitiveness in our tourism industry is vital at this time,” Minister for Transport and Tourism Shane Ross said today.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said the decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive.

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“Therefore, competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now. Tourism Ireland is placing a greater focus on our ‘culturally curious’ audience, who are less impacted by currency fluctuations. We are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, communicating a strong price-led message,” he said.

However Gibbons pointed out that Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe, describing this as “particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations”.

“It has also been the best ever first-half performance from mainland Europe (up almost 6%), with important markets like Spain, Germany, France and the Nordic Region all recording really good growth. I am also really pleased to see visitor numbers from Australia and developing markets increase by 20.6% for the first half of 2017,” he said.

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