Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 13

Tourism Ireland Looks Back On A Record Year For Irish Tourism 2018 has been the best year ever for overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, with revenue generated by international visitors around €6.1 billion (+10% on 2017), delivered by some 11.2 million visitors. Growth has come from all our main markets around the world – with record numbers arriving here from North America, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets. Tourism Ireland reflected on highlights of its promotional activity around the world in 2018. These have included campaigns for our regions, Dublin and Belfast and Star Wars, as well as Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative on St Patrick’s Day, which was bigger than ever before this year. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, said: “2018 looks set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Ireland. The latest CSO figures indicate that the number of overseas visitors to our shores continues to grow, as does the revenue generated by them. The tourism sector supports approximately 260,000 jobs in communities all across the country, therefore the importance of the sector cannot be overstated. Revenue generated by tourism reaches all parts of the country, bringing much needed jobs and income to areas with otherwise limited economic activity. Our focus going forward is to ensure that we continue to grow in a sustainable way and to further build on the success that the regions have experienced through initiatives such as the ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘The Call of the Wild’. The Tourism Action Plan 2019 to 2021, which is due to be published by my Department shortly, will outline some key actions which will underpin the continued growth of the sector in coming years, as will the additional funding secured for the sector in Budget 2019. The continued growth in tourism over the last number of years is testament to the great work being done all across the sector and today, I want to congratulate Tourism Ireland on another very successful year.” Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Throughout 2018, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. A major focus of our activity was Ireland’s Ancient East, Dublin, the Wild Atlantic Way and Northern Ireland; other important themes have included screen tourism and, in particular, Game of Thrones and Star Wars.” Tourism Ireland launched its marketing plans to promote Ireland in 2019, with a target to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6%, to Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin (right) and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at Tourism Ireland’s end-of-year review. €6.5 billion for the economies north and south, next year. Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – ‘Fill your Heart with Ireland’ – will launch over the coming week in the United States, Britain, France and Germany. From January 2019, it will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe. It will include TV, cinema, print, outdoor and online ads, as well as content for social platforms. The campaign will feature less visited attractions and locations and aims to attract visitors all year round. Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “We are heading into 2019 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2018. Working with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism NI and our tourism partners, our aim is to spread this success throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland – ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.” “Our new campaign, ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’, presents Tourism Ireland with a great opportunity to drive continued growth to the regions next year and to encourage visitors to travel off-peak. It will feature locations that have been less visited by overseas visitors and will also highlight outdoor activities like cycling, walking and kayaking. We are confident that our new campaign will set the island of Ireland apart from our competitor destinations and help deliver another record year for overseas tourism in 2019.” Facts: Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination. Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing around 325,000 people across the island. By the end of 2018, we will have welcomed around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €6.1 billion. Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland. com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.2 million visitors in 2017. Liz Steele, Causeway Coast & Glens; Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Kerrie McGonigle, Causeway Coast & Glens; and Amy Maguire, Portrush Atlantic Hotel, with the famous Claret Jug trophy at World Travel Market in London. 11