We're set to check in a record-breaking tourist year
Ireland is on record to receive more tourists than ever before, according to CSO figures released yesterday.
From the period January to September this year, the country received over 6.5m overseas visitors, an increase of 12pc from 2014.It also found that one in 10 American visitors to Europe choose Ireland as their destination.
The news confirms "a very strong performance by Irish tourism", said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohue.
"I am determined to maintain this positive momentum and in this regard the Tourism Leadership Group continues to work on a detailed Tourism Action Plan to ensure that the strong tourism performance is maintained."
Minister Donohue said the additional €2m allocated to tourism in Budget 2016 will be used for ventures which market Ireland to potential visitors. These include the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland's Ancient East and the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid.
"In the coming weeks I will launch Tourism Ireland's marketing plans for 2016," he said.
"The overall tourism goal of Government is that by 2025, revenue from overseas visitors, excluding carrier receipts, will increase to €5bn, net of inflation.
"We aim to have 10 million visits to Ireland annually by 2025, and that employment in the sector would rise to 250,000."
Minister Donohue earlier this month launched a 'Visit Dublin' campaign with €1m invested in its first phase. Yesterday the capital was named in the top three places to travel in 2016 by travel guide the Lonely Planet.
CEO of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons said the findings "indicate that we are heading for a record year in Irish tourism in 2015."
Failte Ireland CEO Sean Quinn said: "These latest CSO figures indicate that tourism is firing on all cylinders, particularly in our key markets - north America, mainland Europe and Britain.
"We have been particularly blessed this year by favourable currency rates, but these aren't steadfast and it will be important for tourism businesses to ensure they are ready should these conditions change.
"We must focus on continuing to provide visitors with unique experiences and value for money to ensure tourism growth continues into 2016."