|Today’s figures from the CSO for overseas visitors to the Republic of Ireland confirm a strong finish to 2013, with growth of almost +10% in overseas visitors for October to December, over the same three-month period in 2012.
• In 2013, we welcomed an additional 500,000 visitors, compared to 2012; in December alone, we welcomed more than 37,000 visitors.
• North America: 2013 was the strongest year ever for visitors from North America – even surpassing the previous best year of 2007 – with growth of +11% in the final quarter, leading to an annual increase of almost +14%, or more than 141,000 additional visitors.
• Mainland Europe: 2013 was the strongest year since 2008 for visitors from Mainland Europe – with an annual increase of almost +5%, or almost 116,000 additional visitors. It was a record year for Germany (+11.1% for the final quarter), France (+5.8% for the final quarter) and Spain (+3.1% for the final quarter). Mainland Europe now delivers more holidaymakers for Ireland than any other market area.
• Great Britain: it is particularly encouraging to see strong growth from GB, with a +12.5% increase in visitors from that market in the final quarter alone, leading to an annual increase of 5.6%, or almost 155,000 additional visitors. Throughout 2013, Tourism Ireland rolled out the ‘GB Path to Growth’ plan; our promotions targeted new audiences with strong potential for growth – including a younger, fun-loving audience looking for an exciting time in a vibrant destination, called ‘Social Energisers’; and an older audience wishing to explore new places and broaden their minds, called ‘Culturally Curious’.
• Australia and Developing Markets (ADM): 2013 was also a record year for our long-haul markets, with Australia and New Zealand in particular driving the growth (+25.4% for the final quarter). ADM recorded growth of +15% for the full year – or an additional 57,300 additional visitors.
Click here to read the statement from Tourism Ireland’s CEO, Niall Gibbons, welcoming today’s figures.