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The cliffs of St George's Head, Kilkee, one of Clare's many natural beauty spots. Photograph by John Kelly.

Good signs for 2016 tourism

CSO figures published today (Wednesday) show a significant increase in overseas visitors to Ireland between December 2015 and February 2016.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “Today’s figures represent a very positive start to 2016 – confirming that, for the first time ever, we welcomed more than one million visitors in the first two months of the year. In the period December 2015 and February 2016, almost a quarter of a million additional visitors (+17%) came to Ireland, when compared with the same three-month period last year.”

Growth was recorded from all markets around the world – including Britain (+21%), North America (+13%), Mainland Europe (over +14%) and from Australia and developing markets (almost +9%).

“Our focus now is on surpassing last year’s success, to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for overseas tourism. We remain conscious of recent tragic events in Brussels and elsewhere and the potential impact on travel; we continue to monitor the situation,” Mr Gibbons said.

“Earlier this month, our promotions received a tremendous boost, with our Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day, which was even bigger and better than ever before. Vast positive coverage was generated around the world in print, broadcast, social and online media, as our Global Greening captured the imaginations of people everywhere at a key time for holiday planning and decisions. St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us and we took every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile,” he added.

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