2013 finished on a strong growth trajectory
The year for inbound tourism in the Republic of Ireland finished strongly with a 10% increase in arrivals over the fourth quarter, including a buoyant December, based on the latest CSO data released today. The outcome for the year was as forecast with total visitor arrivals up 7%. The increase in visitors included, 6% growth in visitors from Great Britain, a 5% increase in the number mainland European visitors, with long haul arrivals from North America up 14% and from Other Areas of the world up 15%.
Perhaps the most encouraging news is that the pace of recovery of the British market gathered momentum as the year progressed – arrivals in the first half of the year were flat while the second half saw the number of British visitors increase by 10%. This would indicate that the new strategic approach in the market is beginning to gather some traction, which together with the impact of The Gathering, delivered real turnaround growth – a welcome contrast to the dismal performance of recent years.
The Gathering would appear to have been successful in driving demand from the diaspora markets around the world, which together with increased emigration in recent years, boosted traffic over the last quarter, including Christmas.
Arrivals from the US breached the much heralded 1 million mark, a 14% increase on the previous year, while arrivals from Canada were up 8% to 122,500.
A quick scan of arrivals from across Europe shows that most countries showed growth in 2013, with the exception of Spain, Poland, and Switzerland.
Demand from the rest of the world was particularly buoyant in 2013, with double digit growth across the board, including a 20% increase in arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and Other Oceania, followed by a 16% growth in visitors from Asia & the Middle East.
Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland welcomed the figures and said "As we look now to the year ahead, we aim to keep the momentum going and build on the success of 2013.