The total number of trips to Ireland by overseas visitors rose by 2.7% to 590,700 last month – an increase of 15,400 compared to the same period last year.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office also show that in the first two months of the year, the total number of trips to Ireland rose by 7% compared to the first two months of 2018.
The biggest increase came from outside of Europe or North America, growing by 22.6% to 258,100 in February. Trips by US and Canadian visitors were up by nine per cent to 86,800 the same month.
While trips by British visitors fell by 2.0% to 258,100, those made by residents of other European countries increased by 3.4% to 208,900.
The overall increase was welcomed by Tourism Ireland. “Overseas arrivals increased by 7% in the first two months of 2019,” said CEO Niall Gibbons.
“Arrivals from North America grew by almost 11% in the first two months of 2019. We’ve also seen good results from mainland Europe, up almost 8% with particularly strong performances from France, Spain and Germany. Visitor numbers from Australia and emerging tourism markets increased by almost 15%.”
However, Mr Gibbons cautioned that while Tourism Ireland welcomed the 4% increase in arrivals from Britain for January-February, it is concerned about Brexit and its impact on outbound travel from Britain.
“Arrivals in January and February represent around 11% of total annual arrivals and growth in the month of February alone has slowed to 2.7%,” he said.
Looking to the summer season, Mr Gibbons said the air and sea access picture is very positive, with increases in the number of airline seats from Britain, Mainland Europe, North America and long-haul markets.
Published: Irish Examiner, 26 March 2019