Tourism Ireland comments on CSO figures for January-June 2019
Commenting on figures published by the CSO today for overseas visitors and overseas tourism revenue to Ireland in the first half of 2019, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO indicate a very mixed picture. Total overseas visitor numbers increased by +2% in the first half of 2019 – with numbers from Britain flat (0%), Mainland Europe up +2%, North America +6% and long-haul markets +7%. “However, revenue from overseas visitors in the first half of 2019 was flat – up +0.3% on the same period in 2018. Revenue from British visitors dropped by -4% and from Mainland European visitors also by -4%; however, we’ve seen growth of +9% in revenue from North American visitors. Also, revenue from all overseas holiday visitors grew by almost +5%.
“The figures underline a continuing weak trend and reflect feedback from industry partners on the ground who have been experiencing weaker demand and have expressed concern for the remainder of 2019 and beyond. The uncertainty around Brexit is an ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors – and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top source markets. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our industry colleagues. “Air access capacity (+2.5% for summer 2019) has deteriorated during the year – with the discontinuation of Norwegian flights from New York, Boston and Toronto, the suspension of the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing until 2020 and the cancellation of its service from Shenzhen, as well as the delayed delivery of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Air access capacity will continue to weaken into the winter months. “Our €12 million autumn campaign is under way in markets across the world, highlighting compelling reasons to visit for the rest of the year. It aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a really good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening right around the island. A key objective for us is to drive more business to our regions, right throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months.”