Tourism Ireland celebrates record year


Tourism Ireland reports the island of Ireland had a record year for visitors from North America in 2013.

CSO Overseas Tourism statistics released yesterday show the total number of visitors from North America in 2013 amounted to 1.158 million, exceeding the previous record set in 2008, and representing an increase of 13.9% on the 2012 figure.

All of Ireland’s main overseas markets grew in 2013 compared to 2012; the number of visits from Great Britain grew by 5.6%; visits from Mainland Europe grew by 4.9% while there was also strong growth of 15.1% from other long-haul markets. A total of 6.986 million overseas visits were recorded last year, representing an increase of 7.2% on the 2012 figure.

“Last year was a record year for visitors from North America and the best for overall tourism since 2008,” Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar (pictured) said. “The Gathering was enormously successful in generating additional visitor numbers. The North American market has always been key for Irish tourism.”

Tourism Ireland in Canada has activated its 2014 campaign with a focused marketing strategy that aims to capitalize on increased levels of air access from Canada to Ireland throughout the year. Aer Lingus and Air Canada rouge begin their direct year-round service from Toronto to Dublin from April and May respectively; while Air Transat continues its seasonal service from Toronto and Montreal to Dublin and Shannon. Westjet also begins its transatlantic service flying Toronto – St. John’s – Dublin in June.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, welcomed the record figures from North America and looks towards 2014 for continued success for Ireland Tourism.

“As we look now to the year ahead, we aim to keep the momentum going and build on the success of 2013,” he said. “This year, we will place a major focus on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture, the ‘Grande Partenza’ of the Giro d’Italia and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener. We will also build on the legacy of The Gathering, continuing to reach out to the Diaspora across the world.”