Record-Breaking Year for Irish Tourism

Over one million North American tourists visited Ireland in 2016. Above: The Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin. (Photo: William Murphy / Flickr)

By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
August / September 2017

For the first time since figures have been recorded, more than one million North Americans visited Ireland in 2016. The numbers were released in June by Fáilte Ireland.

“While we have known for some time that 2016 was a record year for tourism, this week’s report adds more layers to our understanding of that performance,” Caeman Wall, head of research at the National Tourism Development Agency, told the Irish Independent.

In addition to the record-breaking North American numbers, 2016 also saw the total number of tourists to Ireland increase nearly nine percent to a total of 8.7 million visitors from across the world. Britain retains the majority share of visitors, representing over 40 percent of the total number, though, interestingly, the British spend significantly less money than their North American counterparts – €1.11 billion compared to €1.34 billion – despite accounting for more than double the number of tourists.

Significantly, 64 percent of all visitors to Ireland last year were first-timers, while, unsurprisingly, Dublin was the most popular destination, with 5.7 million visitors. ♦

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