Ireland Tourism Statistics

Updated On: August 08, 2022

Waves crashing over the rocks in Dingle Town, Ireland Tourism Statistics

If you’re thinking about visiting Ireland, you needn’t think twice. This country has been named the friendliest country in the whole world and it’s only studded with historical buildings, historical sites, natural wonders such as County Clare’s Cliffs of Moher, beaches and castles that look as if they’d stepped out of a fairytale and vibrant festivals. This is why it’s important to know all about Ireland Tourism Statistics to lure you in.

The tourism sector is a vital one in Irish economy, with the different businesses, industries and thousands of people employed. If you want to estimate the importance of tourism in Ireland, just look at a small statistic of 2017, where the number of visitors throughout the year was 1.8 times more than Ireland’s population.

It’s no secret that the tourism sector in Ireland received a strong blow with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown was enforced and people were advised to not go out at all. The past two years have been tough on tourism, however, hope is not all lost. The majority of businesses have reopened, struggling but determined to make it, and tourists are more than willing to travel.

In this article, we will first talk about an important authority called Fáilte Ireland and its role in the development of tourism in the Republic of Ireland followed by tourism statistics of Ireland, beginning by the current year 2022, up to 2014 as well as the outlook for the sector in the upcoming period going into 2023.

Fáilte Ireland

Fáilte Ireland is the operational name under which the National Tourism Development Authority of the Republic of Ireland operates. It is the largest Irish body that is responsible for the promotion of domestic tourism in Ireland as well as the development of the tourism sector as one of the main components of the Irish economy.

The main goal of Fáilte is the promotion of the Republic of Ireland as a high-quality and highly competitive tourist destination through the suggestion of practical and strategic mechanisms. The authority works with individual tourist enterprises to get better market themselves as well as boosting the entire sector to maintain the level of quality as well as profitability.

Fáilte’s activities can be divided into four categories:

1.    Tourism Marketing:

Providing support to different providers of Irish products, tour operators, marketing groups, handling agents and visitor services, such as a wide range of affordable promotional opportunities. There are two festivals that aim to boost tourism marketing under the sponsorship of Fáilte Ireland, these being “Festivals and Cultural Events Initiative” and “Sports Tourism Initiative”.

2.    Training Services:

This is where advice and education are provided for everyone working in the tourism industry. One of the most important roles falling under this category is providing education opportunities for jobless adults and helping them get back in the market. Fáilte Ireland launched an important initiative called “Pick Tourism” with the purpose of encouraging and supporting young people to choose to pursue a career in the tourism industry. The campaign was known to reach out to the younger generations through social media websites, such as Bebo.

3.    Product Development:

This category involves the support given by Fáilte Ireland to products in the tourism industry, through using tax incentives, grant-aids and supporting new and innovative services as well as new products.

4.    Research and Statistics:

This is where there’s an overview of all profiles and performance of the different aspects of the tourism industry, as well as means of development, in order to create a database that will serve as a guide in improving the tourism sector.

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2022

Everyone walked into 2022 with cautious optimism, hopes of recovery were mixed with uncertainty regarding the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, especially that it was dubbed as more easily transmitted than the original virus. Businesses, however, were eager for control over the new variant and the original virus, to start getting back on track.

A report by the ITIC (Irish Tourism Industry Confederation) titled “The Importance of Competitiveness: An Irish Tourism Analysis) revealed that complete recovery of the tourism sector in Ireland can be achieved through the upcoming 4 years. ITIC said they expect that numbers of visitors will only reach about two-thirds of the numbers recorded back in 2019 before Covid, reaching about 6 million visitors. However, it was uneasy to expect what the total revenue from these visits will be.

Demand has been slow and steady for 2022 so far, yet it doesn’t indicate that growth issues are to be overcome even in 2023. The new variant and the worsening economic conditions threaten the tourism sector’s recovery. Because of these reasons, the ITIC expects that reaching the same visitor numbers as 2019 is only achievable by 2025 or even 2026.

In the SOAR (Situation and Outlook Analysis Report) released by Tourism Ireland, the tough economic situation is reflected on especially with the war in Ukraine and the continuous lockdowns enforced in China. This gruesome war has been the reason the European Commission lowered its expectations for growth of the Eurozone in 2022, from the previous 4.0% to only 2.7%.

While data released from OAG shows that the air seat capacity of air flights into the island of Ireland will likely reach about 91% of the previous level of July 2019, this is hit by the increasing inflation levels. Mainly due to the inflation spread across Europe, the rising demand for overseas traveling with the easing of Covid travel restrictions. Not to mention that sanctions imposed on Russia has led to the increase in fuel prices, this includes fuel for planes as well as cruise ships, which in turn caused an increase in ticket prices.

The latest research about consumer sentiment conducted by Tourism Ireland showed the increasing confidence and comfort of holidaymakers to travel. The research conducted back in April 2022 showed the record comfort by consumers to go on holiday or a short break in Europe, since the beginning of the pandemic, since they’ve learnt how to cope with Covid-19. Sixty percent of holiday makers stated they couldn’t wait to get away, while a determined 50% stated they will go away this year no matter the obstacles. However, many travelers in both Great Britain and France stated the high cost of living might hinder their plans of traveling during 2022.

  1. Data from the CSO shows the arrival of more than 1.5 million tourists to both air and sea ports of the Island of Ireland during April 2022. This number includes both residents of the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. This number of tourists represent an unfortunate minus 14% of the numbers back in 2019.
  2. A report by STR showed that hotel occupancy during April 2022 was 78%, which is only 1% less than April of 2019. The average daily spending rate was €145, which represents more than 26% increase than what it was back in April of 2019.
  3. Based on recent data from the OAG, the capacity of direct air access to the Island of Ireland is to bounce back by July, with the Republic of Ireland returning to 92% of the July levels from 2019 and Northern Ireland to return to 85% of the levels from the same month.
  4. Of the expected seat capacity is that of passengers from Great Britain and Mainland Europe returning to 92% an 91% of the July levels of 2019 respectively. While seat capacity from North America and Other Areas will be returning to 89% and 71% of the July levels of 2019 respectively.
  5. Access to the Island of Ireland is still volatile, mainly due to the progression of Covid-19, public health instructions in source markets as well as the war in Ukraine. However, both Dublin and Cork airports are expected to return to 92% and 93% of the seat capacity of 2019. While Belfast City Airport is expected to surpass the previously anticipated seat capacity for it, moving from 43% to 80%. The only airport expected to surpass its 2019 seat capacity is Ireland West Airport Knock.
  6. When it came to the number of cars travelling from Great Britain to the Island of Ireland through ferryboats, the 2022 numbers have exceeded those of 2019. Traffic going into Northern Ireland reached a record 136% of the 2019 levels, while traffic through central and southern corridors of Ireland has already reached the 2019 levels.
  7. While hotel occupancy in Northern Ireland increased by 5% during April 2022 according to STR reports, hotel occupancy in the Republic of Ireland during April was 2% less than it was back in April 2019.
  8. During April 2022, the ADR or the average daily rate for a hotel room in Northern Ireland increased by more than 38% reaching €103. In Belfast the rate went up by more than 39% reaching €104 in comparison to the same period back in 2019.
  9. In the Republic of Ireland, the ADR increased by 24% reaching €148 during April 2022, in comparison to April 2019. In Dublin, the rate went up by more than 16% reaching €154 in comparison to the same period back in 2019.
  10. Three in each five people predict traveling to Europe during 2022, while about one-fifth of people anticipated their next trip to Europe will have happened during June 2022, while one-third of people anticipate they’ll be traveling between July and December of 2022 instead.
  11. About half of the people expecting to travel during 2022 believe their upcoming holiday will be their main one for the year. While the other half said they were unsure if their upcoming trip would be their main one, this indicates they might be up for more than one trip during 2022.
  12. More than half, 52% of people from Ireland’s main markets listed the increasing cost of living as the primary reason they might not be travelling during 2022. Visitors from Great Britain and France were found to be more sensitive regarding this matter, where the rising cost of living and shrinking of the amount of money to be spent are more likely to prevent one in each four from traveling.
  13. For visitors from the USA, they stated the stronger factor affecting their intention to travel is the conflict in Ukraine, which might prevent one in each five from traveling.
  14. According to the research by ITIC, two in each five holidaymakers stated that the rising cost of living might be the reason they could skip traveling.
  15. The ITIC research cites one crucial factor in determining both the possibility of travel as well as the destination of the trip, and that is value for money. Consumers will be keeping a close eye on the progression of prices throughout 2022 as they hold their hand more when it comes to spending.

The ITIC research on the competitiveness of the Irish tourism market cited 9 recommendations through that can help the recovery of the market as well as maintain its competitive edge. These recommendations are:

1.    The continuation of tourism investment as well as enhancing the cooperation between the public and private sectors:

expectations about the upcoming budget in the Republic of Ireland will include an increase of spending by 6.5%, as well as measures for spending and taxes. Investment spending in the tourism sector must remain present in the upcoming budget so as to help businesses keep afloat as well as face inflation.

The government must also keep working hand in hand with the private sector in order to ensure policies are enabling enough for businesses to prosper through this year and the upcoming one.

2.    Tourism VAT must remain at 9% until the sector achieves full recovery:

keeping the VAT tax at a low rate will greatly enhance Ireland’s competitiveness among other European countries. This is since the reduced rate in both the tourism and hospitality sectors proved it was a key factor in keep Ireland’s market competitive.

3.    Support Sustainability:

In order to help achieve Ireland’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 51%, there needs to be a full package that includes training programs, financial and mentoring support to help companies in the tourism sector to lower their carbon footprint. The current government programs in this field are directed at the manufacturing as well as the agricultural and food sectors, but this needs to expand to include tourism businesses.

4.    Initiatives to meet shortages in labour force:

from before the pandemic, there have been several positions in tourism businesses that proved to be hard to fill, so it was no surprise that the pandemic only heightened this problem. Campaigns to promote careers in the tourism sector are one way of luring in labour forces, as well as amending regulations to allow hiring skilled foreigners when there’s shortage in skills needed. Not to mention providing training and upskilling for the already working staffs in order to keep them for longer periods of time.

5.    Hotel Capacity:

since almost 15% of the total hotel rooms stock has been in contract with the government to use such rooms for humanitarian purposes, it’s only appropriate that proper accommodation be introduced to the asylum seekers and refugees. In doing so, the reintroduction of these hotel rooms as well as the almost 3,000 rooms under construction, should make up for the shortage in hotel rooms available in the Irish tourism market.

6.    Insurance Reform:

The pace of insurance reform to cover many businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector couldn’t have been slower. Only the recent reduction on the insurance premiums of private motors gives a glimpse of hope, but it’s not enough. According to the Alliance for Insurance Reform, there are over 20 businesses working in the subsectors of the tourism industry that are struggling to get insurance coverage, or their only option is to get under one underwriter who monopolises the sector. The government needs to speed up insurance reform for businesses in the tourism sector.

7.    Enhance Tourism retail offered to Great Britain Visitors:

After Brexit, the EU scheme which allows visitors from Great Britain to shop in their markets without taxes. However, tourists from Northern Ireland are not included in this scheme, meaning they still buy the goods with the tax included. Almost all European countries that receive great numbers of visitors from Great Britain have applied this tax-free scheme, which resulted in the increase in spending by these tourists on other areas such as hotels, restaurants or car hire.

Unfortunately, this is not the case of the Republic of Ireland, where visitors from Great Britain will still pay the shopping tax. This makes the Irish market widely unattractive for visitors from Great Britain and damages the market’s competitiveness. The ITIC recommends these restrictions be removed, namely allowing tourists from Great Britain to shop in Ireland tax free, hence making the Irish market more appealing to Britons.

8.    Increasing supply of Car Rentals:

Car rental companies will need time to restock their fleets to reach the same levels before the pandemic, since many of them are severely understocked. The government’s abolishment of the VRT reliefs on the short term car rentals is a temporary incentive for the car rental companies to rebuild.

9.    More investment in data, marketing and research:

During this time of hardship for the tourism sector, it’s imperative to take this opportunity to invest more in data collection, analysis and research to better understand performance of the market, demand, visitor behaviour and economic impacts as well as identifying opportunities, vulnerabilities and potential risks.

Recovery of the tourism industry needs good planning and strategies, targeting campaigns to achieve the best potential value. Understanding these factors will help improve business planning.

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2021

The vision was foggy when it came to the recovery of the tourism industry during 2020, despite the hopes for recovery, there was a second wave of Covid-19 hitting by the end of 2020. During the majority of 2021, many businesses and establishments received monetary and government aids to stay solvent. However, along came the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus and fears of the increasing numbers of infection increased.

The following statistics are a part of the Tourism Barometer conducted by Fáilte Ireland in November of 2021, before the Omicron variant was discovered and new health measures were put in force. The barometer clarifies where the industry stands as well as gives a brief outlook for expectations for 2022. Through this research, Fáilte was able to better assess the help needed in the upcoming year.

The way Fáilte Ireland gathered information for this barometer was through designing a questionnaire that was later set up online through an independent research agency called Strategic Research and Insight or SRI. These are the results that came back in response to the questionnaire, giving an insight to the Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2021:

  1. There was a 33% drop in the turnover in 2021, in comparison to 2019.
  2. Establishments that were more dependent on internal tourism had it worse than other establishments, and they had a worse turnover in 2021 when compared to that of 2019.
  3. Business that resumed work with their full capacity saw a lower turnover of only 5%.
  4. Almost the third of those working in the tourism industry in 2021 were newly appointed, in comparison to the fifth of the working force back in 2020.
  5. Recruitment and retention are among the many challenges facing the tourism industry and are yet to be overcome the following year.
  6. Irish holidaymakers started to make bookings for 2022, which is a hopeful move for the recovery of tourism. The majority of those holidaymakers were families, who would have traveled abroad if it weren’t for the traveling restrictions. Some operators revealed that many holiday dates were booked faster than other dates.
  7. When observing the booking in advance behaviour, it was noticed that booked journeys were longer, some were booked way in advance and consumers were ready to spend more money.
  8. When it came to overseas visitors, cancelation risks were considered higher, this made it less likely to see many visitors from abroad. It’s worth noting that cancelation refund and, or insurance are not available in all booking cases.
  9. Despite the risks, 62% of operators stated they received bookings from US customers for the upcoming year of 2022, while 52% stated they received bookings from Great Britain.
  10. When it came to business survival, 27% of businesses stated they were “very confident” they’ll be able to survive for the upcoming 12 months, while 47% were only “fairly confident” they’ll survive.
  11. Businesses in general stated the top factors they think will have to work with in the upcoming year are the containment of Covid-19 so they’d be able to benefit from the increased demand and compensate for their losses, in the event of less or no travel restrictions. The second factor is operational challenges such as shortage of staff and the rising of costs.
  12. The majority, 79% of businesses reopened for work before August of 2021, this percent was divided as such: 87% of the accommodation businesses reopened before August, while only 72% of non-accommodation businesses reopened before August.
  13. Some businesses stated they haven’t received any requests or customers yet because they depended on domestic tourism and event organising, which was the reason they hadn’t reopened yet. Those businesses included inbound tour operators, about quarter of the tour guides, coach operators and event organisers. They, however, stated they will reopen in the future.
  14. While reopening was certainly a good sign, 47% of businesses had to reopen with less than the half of the original operating capacity.
  15. Self-catering businesses have the best capacity levels, since 29% of these businesses could operate at their full capacity.
  16. Other businesses suffered from a strong blow, where only 60% of them were able to reopen with only 25% of their original capacity. Such business were mainly the tour guides, inbound and coach sectors.
  17. Most businesses had a positive outlook for 2022, where they planned to operate with less restrictions on their full capacity.
  18. About 19% of businesses stated they’ll be on the outlook for what changes will take place due to the evolvement of Covid-19 and whether there will be any new restrictive or health measures.
  19. It’s no secret that all businesses were hoping for control over Covid-19 so they’d be able to operate with their full capacities and meet the incoming demand.
  20. Seventy-eight percent of businesses stated they were taking bookings for the upcoming year of 2022. The majority said that from April 2022, the forecast looked to be promising.
  21. Many businesses and sectors had future bookings for 2022 that looked promising. However, their optimism mainly depended on the evolution of Covid-19.
  22. While domestic tourists helped keep the tourism sector barely afloat during the pandemic, since the end of 2019, 2020 and most of 2021, businesses still wonder if this boom will continue in 2022, where domestic tourists would travel abroad and overseas tourists would return to the island.
  23. The gap between the two markets; the declining of the domestic market and the recovery of the overseas market, is a major cause of concern for the entire tourism sector. However, many operators stated they had bookings for 2022 from tourists from the USA as well as Great Britain. While many bookings were in fact postponed bookings from 2020 that were moved up to 2021.
  24. While it might not seem possible but Covid-19 had a sliver of positive impact in many aspects. Ninety-six percent of all operators stated that Covid changed their method of running their business. There is a higher level of hygiene standards imposed now, so guests will enjoy an extra clean stay. Business didn’t focus much on online presence but that changed due to the pandemic, where now the online presence of 65% of activity providers and attractions have improved their online presence.
  25. Almost a third of businesses especially those in the Food and Drink industry exploited the idea of having outdoor spaces. Almost half of the hotel, pub, restaurant and café sectors did this.
  26. There was a 15.1% decrease in the number of overseas visitors in November 2021, where only 785,800 visitors arrived in Ireland, in comparison to October.

It’s important to remember that the previous numbers were all recorded before the Omicron variant was discovered, ironically in November of 2021; the same month this barometer was conducted. Unfortunately, after Omicron, the tourism sector incurred further losses, amounting to €17 million a day. In December of 2021 only, the tourism sector lost about €400 million.

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2020

Lockdown! This is one word that stopped many of life’s ordinary activities. Everything suffered after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Restrictions were imposed on everything and tourism and travelling were among the most affected sectors due to the lockdown imposed in almost the entire world.

So it’s not surprising that every aspect of Irish tourism suffered great decreases in 2020. However, many tourists were able to have their way and come to Ireland to enjoy their long-booked visits. These are the Ireland Tourism Statistics for the ominous year; 2020:

  1. The greatest decrease in the number of tourists was between March 2020 and April of the same year. The numbers of tourists were 635,000 for March and 16,100 for April.
  2. There was a 77.1% decrease in the total number of tourists visiting Ireland, in comparison to 2019. This brings the record number of 19 million of 2019 down to 4.3 million in 2020.
  3. With the approach of summer and the third quarter, tourist numbers began to increase slightly, with the biggest number being 362,600 in August of 2020, before the numbers went down again due to the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the world. The previous increases were mainly due to the easing of precautionary restrictions imposed by the Irish government to combat the pandemic, as well as that the majority of people tend to travel more during the summer season.
  4. The largest number of tourists coming to Ireland in 2020 was from Great Britain, despite there was a generally 75.2% drop in the total number of tourists from Great Britain.
  5. The two most affected markets for overseas visitors to Ireland were the USA with an 84.7% drop and Portugal with an 82.5% drop.
  6. Many tourists came to Ireland from Spain despite the 82.1% decrease in their numbers in comparison to 2019, which brings their number in 2020 to 399,500 tourists.
  7. Germany accounted for a total number of 243,000 in 2020, in comparison to 1.2 million in 2019.
  8. France accounted for a total number of 229,700 in 2020, in comparison to 1.15 million in 2019.

Tourism Ireland has estimated that it will take about five years for the tourism sector to fully recover from the effect Covid-19 had on the sector, according to TI’s Chief Executive Niall Gibbons. To this effect, a massive campaign of Irish tourism will need to get underway as soon as the health and pandemic situation allows.

Gibbons said that their main focus in the upcoming period will be on markets closer to home, such as Great Britain and Mainland Europe. However, tourists from long-haul markets such as the USA for example, were not expected until 2022 at least.

On the other hand, Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive Paul Kelly stated the tourism sector was in grave danger, due to the increasing number of insolvencies throughout the year, and was likely to increase after the Christmas season. Kelly stated that government support was not enough to steer the sector out of danger’s way.

Interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
Interior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2019

Many of the aspects of the touristic scene in 2019 slightly increased from the previous year. However, 2019 is the last strong year for the Irish tourism before the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard and restrictions had to be imposed on everything, and traveling was no exception. Even if small, growth is still growth and new records were also set in 2019.

These are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2019:

  1. There was a 1% increase in the number of overseas visitors in 2019, with more than 100,000 more visitors, which brings their total count number to 11.3 million tourists, while the total number of visitors was more than 19 million visitors.
  2. The total revenue generated by tourists in the Island of Ireland in 2019 reached €8.9 billion.
  3. Residents of the Republic of Ireland took 12.4 million trips in 2019 and account for €2.3 billion of the total revenue, which represent 26% of the total revenue generated by tourists in 2019.
  4. Residents of Northern Ireland took 3.6 million trips in 2019 and account for €759 million of the total revenue, which represent 9% of the total revenue generated in 2019.
  5. The majority, 42% of overseas visitors came from Great Britain, 15% came from the USA, 7% came from Germany and 5% came from France. Combined, they represent about 70% of the total overseas visitors count.
  6. For the first year in the consecutive growth years, there was a 0% increase in the overseas spending, with the count remaining at €5.9 billion, which was the same as 2018.
  7. For the second consecutive year, visitors from the USA account for 27% of the overall overseas spending while visitors from Great Britain account for 25%, visitors from Germany account for 8% and visitors from France account for 5%. Combined, they represent about two-thirds or 65% of the total overseas spending.
  8. There was a 1% increase in the number of visitors coming to the island for holiday, with more than 34,000 more visitors, which brings their total to 50% of the total number of visitors.
  9. About one-third or 32% came to the island to visit family and friends, one-seventh or 14% of visitors came for business purposes while 4% came for other reasons.
  10. There wasn’t a noticeable increase in the number of promotable visitors in 2019, their number remained slightly over 6 million.
  11. There was a minus 1% decrease in the total number of nights spent by overseas visitors, which brings their total to 82 million nights.
  12. The average number of nights spent depended on the purpose of the visit. Holidaymakers spent an average of 6.2 nights, those visiting family and friends spent an average of 7.1 nights, those visiting for business purposes spent an average of 6.2 nights and those visiting for other reasons, such as learning English for example, had a distinguishable long stay of 25.3 nights.
  13. The second quarter of the year was the only quarter in 2019 to witness an increase in the number of nights spent in the Island of Ireland.
  14. The third quarter, from July to September, was as usual the busiest one and account for 34% of the total night count of the entire year, as well as accounts for 41% of the total holiday nights spent.
  15. Holidaymakers account for the majority, 58% of the total spending of overseas visitors. Those visiting family and friends account for 20% of the total spending, those visiting for business purposes account for 15% while those visiting for other reasons account for 7% of the total spending.
  16. The majority, 37% of the total spending went on Food and Drink, 29% went on Bed and Board, an equal 13% went on each of Shopping and Internal Transport, 6% went on Sightseeing and Entertainment while the remaining 3% went on various things.
  17. The majority, 29% of visitors stayed at a family’s or friends’ place during their visit, 21% said they booked a hotel room, 19% rented a place such as a lodge or a villa or a cottage, 9% said they stayed at a Guesthouse or B&B while 21% said they stayed at another accommodation.
  18. The majority, 59% of overseas visitors stayed in the capital Dublin during their visit, 21% stayed in the South West and 20% stayed in Northern Ireland.
  19. The majority, 72% of overseas holidaymakers stayed in the capital city Dublin during their visit, 30% stayed in the South West and 26% stayed in the West.
  20. The majority, 65% of overseas holidaymakers belonged to the White Collar socio-economic group, 24% belonged to the Managerial and Professional group, 8% belonged to the Skilled Worker Group while 2% belonged to the Unskilled Worker group.
  21. The majority, 31% of holidaymakers spent an average of 1 to 3 nights, 26% spent an average of 6 to 8 nights while 21% spent an average of 4 to 5 nights.
  22. The majority, 26% of holidaymakers were between 25 and 34, 16% were between 55 and 64, 15% were between 16 and 24 years old.
  23. The majority, 67% of holidaymakers stated it was their first time visiting the Island of Ireland, 31% said they’d been to the island before while 2% said they were born on the island.
  24. Despite the slight growth of tourism in the Island of Ireland in 2019, it was much less, at 0.9% than growth of both the World, with more than 4.0% as well as Europe, with more than 3.9%.
  25. The slight increase in the number of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2019 did not translate in an increase in revenue. The change for Ireland was minus 0.2%, while the World saw an increase with more than 6.5% as well as Europe which saw an increase with more than 5.6%.
Abbey Ruins and Hidden Castle, County Mayo
Abbey Ruins and Hidden Castle, County Mayo

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2018

This year is another record year for Irish tourism, where many previous records from the past years were broken and new records were set to conquer. From the overall number of tourists, overseas tourists, amount of spending, and the number of holidaymakers. Twenty-eighteen is considered the 8th year of consecutive growth of Irish tourism and the 4th year in record-breaking.

These are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2018:

  1. There was a 5% increase in the number of overseas tourists, with more than 570,000 more tourists in comparison to 2017, which brings the total of overseas tourists for 2018 to 11.2 million.
  2. Residents of the Republic of Ireland took 11.5 million trips in 2018 and they account for €2.1 billion of the total spending.
  3. Residents of Northern Ireland took 3.5 million trips in 2018 and they account for €734 million of the total spending.
  4. The majority, 42% of overseas visitors came from Great Britain, 16% came from the USA, 7% came from Germany and 5% came from France. Combined, they represent 70% of the total number of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2018.
  5. There was a 5% increase in the total spending of overseas visitors in 2018, with €287 million more than 2017, which brings the total amount of spending to €5.9 billion.
  6. For the first time in many years, 28% of overseas visitors coming from the USA account for more spending that those coming from Great Britain who account for 24%, visitors coming from Germany account for 8% of the total overseas spending while visitors coming from France account for 5%. Combined, they represent about two-thirds or 65% of the total spending by overseas visitors.
  7. There was an 11% increase in the number of holidaymakers in 2018, with more than 557,000 more holidaymakers than 2017, which account for 50% of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland.
  8. About one-third or 33% of overseas visitors coming to the Island of Ireland was to visit family and friends, about one-seventh or 14% of visitors came for business purposes, while 4% came for other reasons.
  9. There was a 10% increase in the number of promotable visitors from abroad, with more than 532,000 than 2017, this brings their total number in 2018 to more than 6 million.
  10. The average amount of money spent by overseas visitors per trip was €524.
  11. The average length of nights spent by overseas visitors was 7.4 nights, while holidaymakers usually stayed for 6.4 nights.
  12. There was a 3% increase in the total number of nights spent by visitors, which brings the total number of nights spent in 2018 to 82.8 million nights.
  13. The staple markets for Irish tourism remain the same; Great Britain, the USA, Germany and France. They together account for 70% of the total number of overseas visitors, 60% of the total nights spent on the Island of Ireland, 69% of both the total number of holidaymakers as well as holiday spending and 65% of the total overseas spending.
  14. Due to the effort of expanding into other markets, the figures of the previous four markets have seen a decrease in comparison to some previous years, they accounted for 74% back in 2008 and even 83% further back in 2003.
  15. The USA, Canada and Australian markets are considered to be long-haul markets and they are also among the top 10 consistent markets for overseas visitors of the island.
  16.  In terms of growth volume, the fastest growing markets were the USA market with more than 228,000 tourists, Germany with more than 116,000 tourists, Great Britain with more than 64,000 tourists, Italy with more than 32,000 tourists and Switzerland with more than 20,000 tourists.
  17. In terms of growth rate, the fastest growing markets were Luxembourg with more than 53%, Brazil with more than 27%, Austria with more than 21%, Switzerland with more than 18%, Germany with more than 17% and the USA with more than 14%.
  18. The majority, 58% of the total overseas spending came from holidaymakers, which is about three-fifths of the total. Those visiting family and friends account for 20% of the total overseas spending, those visiting for business purposes account for 15% while those visiting for other reasons account for 7% of the total overseas spending.
  19. The majority, 36% of the total spending of overseas visitors went on Food and Drink, 30% went on Bed and Board, both Shopping and Internal Transport account for 13% each, while 6% went on Sightseeing and Entertainment and the remaining 2% went on various stuff.
  20. The majority, 29% of overseas visitors stayed at a family’s or friends’ place during their visit, 21% booked a hotel room, 19% rented a place such as a cottage or villa, 9% stayed at a Guesthouse or B&B, and the remaining 21% said they stayed in other types of accommodation.
  21. The majority, 56% of overseas visitors stayed in the capital Dublin, 22% stayed in the South West while 20% stayed in Northern Ireland.
  22. The majority, 69% of overseas holidaymakers stayed in the capital city Dublin, 33% stayed in the South West and 26% stayed in the West.
  23. As in the previous years, the majority, 60% of holidaymakers belonged to the White Collar socio-economic group, while 28% belonged to the Managerial and Professional group, 9% belonged to the Skilled Worker group while 3% belonged to the Unskilled Worker group.
  24. The majority, 29% of overseas holidaymakers stayed an average of 1 to 3 nights, while 28% of visitors stayed for 6 to 8 nights.
  25. The majority, 23% of overseas visitors were between the ages of 25 and 34, 17% were between 16 and 24, 17% as well were between 55 and 64 while 15% were between 45 and 54.
  26. The majority, 66% of overseas holidaymakers stated it was their first time to visit the Island of Ireland, 32% said they’d been to the island before while 2% said they were born on the island.
  27. Growth in the number of overseas tourists in 2018 of the Island of Ireland, at more than 5.4% has been seemingly parallel to that of the World, at more than 5.6% and that of Europe, at more than 5.8%.
St. Stephen's Green, Dublin
St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2017

After the continuous growth in the Irish tourism sector for the past 7 years, beating growth in both Europe and the world, the numbers show that most of the previous records have been broken in 2017. The influx of overseas tourists in particular, increased significantly this year, amounting to almost half the total number of visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2017.

So, here are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2017:

  1. There was a 3% increase in the number of overseas visitors, with more than 300,000 more visitors than 2016, bringing the total number of overseas visitors to more than 10.6 million visitors in 2017.
  2. The majority, 44% of overseas visitors came from Great Britain, 15% came from the USA, 6% came from Germany and 5% came from France. Combined, they all represent 70% of the total number of visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2017.
  3. The total revenue generated by tourists in the Island of Ireland in 2017 was a record-breaking €8.2 billion.
  4. Residents of the Republic of Ireland account for 10.1 million trips in 2017, and €2.0 billion of the total spending, which represents a 24% increase from 2016.
  5. Residents of Northern Ireland account for 3.5 million trips in 2017, and €684 million of the total spending, which represents an 8% increase from 2016.
  6. With more than €312 million more spent by overseas visitors in 2017, this brings the total expenditure by overseas visitors to €5.6 billion, representing a 6% increase in revenue from the previous year.
  7. Visitors from both Great Britain and the USA each account for 25% of the overseas visitor spending in 2017, visitors from Germany account for 7% while visitors from France account for 6% of the total spending by overseas visitors. Combined, they all account for two-thirds or 63% of the total spending by overseas visitors.
  8. The majority, 48% of overseas visitors came to the Island of Ireland for holiday, with more than 346,000 more visitors than 2016, which means there was a 7% increase in the number of holidaymakers this year.
  9. About one-third or 34% of overseas visitors came to the Island of Ireland to visit family and friends, one-sixth or 15% of overseas visitors came for business purposes, while 4% stated they came for other reasons.
  10. There was a 7% increase in the number of promotable visitors in 2017, with more than 369,000 more visitors than in 2016, which brings their total number to more than 5.5 million promotable visitors.
  11. The average amount of money spent by overseas visitors per trip was €525.
  12. The average number of nights spent by overseas visitors in the Island of Ireland was 7.6 nights, while holidaymakers spent an average of 6.5 nights.
  13. There was a 3% increase in the number of nights spent by visitors in the Island of Ireland, with a total of more than 80.6 million nights spent.
  14. Visitors coming to the Island of Ireland with the purpose of holidaying account for 54% of the total spending. While visitors coming to visit family and friends account for 22%, visitors coming for business purposes account for 16% and those visiting for other reasons account for 8% of the total spending.
  15. The majority, 36% of the total spending went on Food and Drink, 29% went on Bed and Board, 14% went on Shopping, 12% went on Internal Transport, 7% went on Sightseeing and Entertainment while the remaining 2% went on various stuff.
  16. The majority, 30% of overseas visitors said they stayed at a family or relative’s place during their visit to the Island of Ireland, 19% said they booked a hotel room, 19% also said they rented out a place, 8% said they stayed at a Guesthouse or B&B, while 24% said they stayed in other accommodations.
  17. The majority, 56% of overseas visitors stayed in the capital city of Dublin during their visit, 23% stayed in the South West and 20% stayed in Northern Ireland.
  18. The majority, 68% of overseas holidaymakers stayed in the capital Dublin during their visit, 35% stayed in the South West and 27% stayed in the West.
  19. The majority, 59% of overseas visitors belonged to the White Collar socio-economic group, 27% belonged to the Managerial and Professional group, 10% belonged to the Skilled Worker group while 4% belonged to the Unskilled Worker group.
  20. The majority, 26% of overseas visitors were between the ages of 25 and 34, 17% were between the ages of 16 and 24 and 16% were between the ages of 45 and 54.
  21. Sixty-seven percent of overseas visitors said it was their first time visiting the Island of Ireland, while 31% said they’d been to the island before and 2% said they were born on the island.
  22. For the first time in five years, growth in the number of overnight tourists in both the World, with more than 6.8%, and Europe, more than 8.2% outpaced that of Ireland, which was only 2.9%.
Christmas at Dublin Castle
Christmas at Dublin Castle

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2016

To say 2016 was a record-breaking year for the tourism sector in the Island of Ireland is an understatement. Not only has been the previous numbers of visitors surpassed, but even the total revenue generated during these trips increased significantly. This year has been another year where the promotions and campaigns run by Tourism Ireland and the Ministry of Transport, Tourism and Sport have proven to be successful.

Here are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2016:

  1. There was a 9% increase in the total number of overseas visitors coming to the Island of Ireland in 2016, with 834,000 more visitors than the previous year, the total number of visitors surpassed 10.3 million visitors in 2016.
  2. The majority, 47% of overseas visitors came from Great Britain, 13% came from the United States, 6% came from Germany while 5% came from France. Combined, they all represent three-quarters of the total number of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2016.
  3. These overseas visitors spent more than €446 more than 2015, which brings the total spending for 2016 to a staggering €5.3 billion in 2016.
  4. The majority, 28% of the overseas spending came from visitors from Great Britain, 23% came from visitors from the United States, 8% came from visitors from Germany and 5% came from visitors from France. Combined, they all account for two-thirds of all overseas revenue in 2016.
  5. The total revenue generated in the tourism sector in 2016 reached a record high €7.8 billion.
  6. Residents of the Republic of Ireland account for 9.7 million trips in 2016 and €1.9 billion, which represent a 24% increase from the previous year.
  7. Residents of Northern Ireland account for 3.3 million trips in 2016 and €661 million, which represent an 8% increase from the previous year.
  8. There was a 10% increase from 2015 in the number of holidaymakers visiting the Island of Ireland, with more than 416,000 more visitors which represents 46% of the total number of overseas visitors to the island in 2016.
  9. About one-third or 35% of overseas visitors said they came to the island to visit family and friends, 16% said they came for business while 4% cited other reasons.
  10. There was a 9% increase in the number of promotable visitors in 2016, with more than 425,000 more visitors in comparison to 2015, bringing their total number to more than 5 million in 2016.
  11. The average amount of money spent by overseas visitor was €515 per trip in 2016.
  12. The average nights spent by overseas visitors in 2016 was 7.6 nights, while holidaymakers spent an average of 6.6 nights.
  13. There was an 8% increase in the number of nights spent by overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2016, which brings the total number to more than 78.3 million nights, which represents a whopping 20% increase over the past 10 years.
  14. The majority, 53% of tourism revenue generated in 2016 was generated by visitors on holiday in the island, followed by 23% of visitors visiting family and friends, 16% by visitors who came for business purposes and 8% by those visiting for other purposes.
  15. The majority, 34% of spending by overseas visitors was on Food and Drink, 32% on Bed and Board, 13% on Shopping, 12% on Internal Transport, 6% on Sightseeing and Entertainment and the remaining 3% on different other things.
  16. The majority, 30% of overseas visitors stated they stayed at family’s and friends’ accommodation during their visit, 27% said they booked a hotel room, 14% rented a unit like a cottage or a villa, 11% stayed at a Guesthouse or B&B and 18% said they had other accommodations.
  17. The majority, 55% of overseas visitors stayed in the capital city Dublin, while 21% stayed in Northern Ireland and 20% stayed in the South West.
  18. The majority, 68% of holidaymakers stayed in the capital Dublin, while 32% stayed in the South West and 25% stayed in the West.
  19. The majority, 38% of promotable visitors came from Mainland Europe, while 35% came from Great Britain, 21% came from the United States while 6% came from all over the world.
  20. As with the previous years, the majority, 57% of holidaymakers visiting the Island of Ireland belonged to the White Collar socio-economic group. While 30% belonged to the Managerial and Professional Group, 10% belonged to the Skilled Worker group and 3% belonged to the Unskilled Worker group.
  21. Like the years before, the majority, 24% of overseas visitors were between the ages of 25 and 34, 17% for both age groups of 16 to 24 and 45 to 54.
  22. When asked whether this was their first time visiting the Island of Ireland, 63% of visitors said yes, while 34% said they’d been to the island before and 3% said they were born on the island.
  23. Growth in the number of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2016 reached 8.8%, which is more than growth in Europe which stood at 1.6% and the whole world which stood at 3.6%.

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2015

This year has been one of the best years for the tourism sector in the Island of Ireland, with several campaigns run by Tourism Ireland that helped greatly in promoting the island as a competitive tourist destination. Starting from the filming of MasterChef Italia on the island, to sponsoring the Irish team in the Cricket World Cup and the worldwide celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day where Rome’s Colosseum, Edinburgh Castle and Paris’ Sacré Cœur basilica were lit in green to celebrate the saint, in one of the widest promotional campaigns for Irish tourism.

So, here are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2015:

  1. There was a 12% increase in the number of overseas visitors in 2015, with more than 1 million visitors more than 2014, which brings the total number of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2015 to 9.5 million visitors.
  2. The majority, 47% of overseas visitors came from Great Britain, 13% came from the USA, 7% came from Germany and 5% came from France. Combined, they represent about three-quarters of the total number of overseas visitors.
  3. There was a 17% increase in the spending by overseas visitors in 2015, with more than €721 million more than 2014, which brings the total expenditure of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2015 to €4.9 billion.
  4. The majority of spending by overseas visitors came from visitors from Great Britain with 28%, followed by 23% by visitors from the USA, 8% by visitors from Germany and 5% by visitors from France. Combined, they represent two-thirds of the total overseas spending by visitors to the island of Ireland in 2015.
  5. There was a 19% increase in the number of visitors coming to the island of Ireland for holidays, with more than two-fifths of visitors or 45% of the total number of visitors in 2015, which means there were more than 680,000 more visitors than 2014.
  6. About one-third or 34% of visitors came to the island of Ireland to visit family and friends, and about one-sixth or 16% came to the island for business reasons. Another 4% stated they visited the island for other reasons.
  7. There was a 16% increase in the number of promotable visitors in 2015, with more than 658,000 more visitors than 2014, which brings their total number in 2015 to more than 4.7 million promotable visitors.
  8. The average spending per trip for each visitor from overseas was €520 per trip.
  9. The average length of nights spent by overseas visitors was 7.6 nights, while holidaymakers spent an average of 6.6 nights.
  10. There was a 19% increase in the number of overseas holidaymakers, where their number reached more than 4.3 million in 2015.
  11. There was an 11% increase in the number of nights spent by visitors on the Island of Ireland, with more than 72.3 million nights spent in 2015.
  12. Visitors who came to the island for holidaying account for 52% of the total spending of 2015, while visitors visiting family and friends account for 23%, followed by 17% for visitors who came for business and those visiting for other reasons only account for 8% of the total spending.
  13. The total spending of overseas visitors can be divided as such: 33% of spending went on Food and Drinks, 30% went on Bed and Board, Shopping accounted for 14%, Internal Transport account for 12%, Sightseeing and Entertainment account for 7% while the remaining 4% went on varied things.
  14. The majority, 31% of overseas visitors stayed at family and friends while visiting the Island of Ireland, 27% booked hotel rooms, 14% rented entire units such as a cottage or villa, 10% stayed in a Guesthouse or B&B while the remaining 10% said they stayed at other places.
  15. The majority, 52% of visitors to the Island of Ireland stayed in the capital Dublin, followed by 22% staying in the South West and 21% staying in Northern Ireland.
  16. The majority, 66% of holidaymakers visiting the Island of Ireland stayed in the capital city Dublin, followed by 33% staying in the South West and 26% staying in the West of the island.
  17. The majority, 38% of holidaymakers visiting the Island of Ireland in 2015 came from Mainland Europe, followed by 34% coming from Great Britain, 22% coming from the United States and 6% coming from all over the world.
  18. The majority, 39% of promotable visitors came from Mainland Europe, followed by 34% coming from Great Britain, 20% coming from the United States and 6% from all over the world.
  19. The majority, 55% of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2015 are from the White Collar socio-economic group, 28% are from the Managerial and Professional group, 13% are from the Skilled Worker group while 3% are from the Unskilled Worker group.
  20. The majority, 24% of overseas visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2015 were in the age group of 25 to 34, 18% between the ages of 45 to 54, followed by 16% between the ages of 16 and 24 and 14% between the ages of 55 and 64.
  21. When asked whether this was their first time visiting the Island of Ireland, 60% of visitors confirmed it was their first visit, 37% said they’d been to the island before while 3% stated they were born on the island.

Tourism Ireland was still preparing several more campaigns to kick off the tourist season of 2016 and to continue the growth from 2015.

Ireland Tourism Statistics 2014

Tourism in the island of Ireland saw another year of boom during 2014, be it the number of visitors, the amounts of money spent or even the average spending for the length of the trips. Here are the latest Ireland Tourism Statistics for 2014, issued by the Tourism Ireland organisation, which is responsible for promoting the island as a tourist destination.

  1. The total number of visitors by the end of 2014 increased by 6%, reaching 8.4 million visitors, with more than half a million more visitors than the previous year.
  2. The majority, 48% of international visitors came from Great Britain, 13% came from the USA, 7% came from Germany and 5% came from France. Combined, they all represent about three-quarters of the total visitor count in 2014.
  3. International tourists spent a whopping total of €4.1 billion, representing a 6% increase in international spending, with more than €246 million more than the previous year.
  4. The majority, 30% of the international spending came from tourists from Great Britain, 23% came from the USA, 8% came from Germany while 5% came from France. Combined, they all represent two-thirds of the total of overseas tourist revenue in 2014.
  5. The largest number, 43% of tourists visiting the Republic of Ireland was with the purpose of holidays, which is about two-fifths of the total number of tourists in 2014, this represents an 8% increase with more than 280,000 more tourists than 2013.
  6. Thirty-seven percent of tourists visited the Republic to visit friends and family, which represents more than one-third of the total number of visitors, and about one-fifth which equals 16% visited for business reasons. Four percent stated they visited the Republic of Ireland for other reasons.
  7. The average spending per trip for overseas visitors was €492 per trip in 2014.
  8. The average trip length for overseas visitors was 7.7 nights, while visitors who came with the purpose of holidaying spent an average of 6.7 nights.
  9. In the Island of Ireland, the most popular destinations for tourists were Dublin, the South West of the island and Northern Ireland.
  10. There was a 7% increase in the number of promotable visitors visiting the island in 2014, with more than 256,000 more visitors, bringing the total number of promotable visitors to more than 4 million, in comparison to 2013.
  11. There was a 7% increase in the number of nights spent by visitors in the island in 2014, which brings the total to more than 65 million nights.
  12. When it comes to the place where visitors stayed during their visits, 33% stayed at a friend’s or a relative’s place, 25% booked hotel rooms, 14% rented a place to stay such as a villa or a cottage, 9% stayed at Guesthouses and B&B while the remaining 18% said other places.
  13. The majority of visitors, 49% stayed in Dublin during their time in the Island of Ireland. The two following places were the South West and Northern Ireland, with 26% and 21% respectively.
  14. The majority of holidaymakers, 62% stayed in Dublin during their holiday in the Island of Ireland. The two following places were the South West and the West, with 41% and 29% respectively.
  15. The majority, about 50% of visitors to the Island of Ireland in 2014 belonged to the White Collar socio-economic group, followed by 32% of Managerial Professional group, 14% of the Skilled Worker group and 4% of the Unskilled Worker group.
  16. When asked whether this was their first visit to the Island of Ireland, 59% of respondents said it was their first time, 39% said they’d been to the island before, while 2% revealed they were in fact born on the island.
  17. The dominating age group of visitors to the Island of Ireland was between 25 and 34 years old with 20%, followed by the age group of 45 to 54 with 18%, the age group of 55 to 64 with 17%.

After this ride through Irish tourism statistics, it’s clear that everyone in the tourism industry is trying their best, and if you continue to work, it will soon payoff!