Tourism Ireland has announced it is to targets 25% growth in Spanish and Italian visitors.
According to two new Tourism Ireland strategies launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, Spain and Italy offer significant potential for Irish tourism.
The strategies set out ambitious targets which will aim to secure almost 3.8 million Spanish and Italian visitors between now and 2020.
This would equate to 825,000 visitors per year from both countries.
Since 2000, visitors from Spain to Ireland have tripled and Spain is now the fifth most important market for Irish tourism in terms of visitor numbers and the sixth most important in terms of revenue.
More than 20% of all Spanish visitors to Ireland visit in the off-season, which Tourism Ireland sees as a real opportunity for tourism operators to win business at a time when there is capacity in accommodation and other facilities.
Over half of all Italian visitors to Ireland come specifically for holidays, and Italian visitors are among our higher-spending and longer-staying visitors.
Minister Paschal Donohoe TD said: “We have seen five consecutive years of growth in overseas visitor numbers to Ireland culminating in a record year in 2015, with more than 8.6 million visits recorded. Despite this, we remain ambitious for even further growth in the Irish tourism sector in the years ahead.”
“The Government’s Tourism Policy Statement which we launched last year and the Tourism Action Plan, which I published in recent weeks, set out the key policy measures and related actions to ensure that tourism will continue to grow in a sustainable manner right up to 2025. The Spanish and Italian strategies which are being launched today show how visitors from these markets will play a key part in achieving our growth targets.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Spain and Italy have performed extremely well for tourism to the island of Ireland in recent years and the future is undoubtedly bright. We believe that both are markets of considerable potential for Irish tourism over the coming years. However, we certainly don’t take the performance for granted; we need to adapt and respond to new opportunities to ensure that success continues. I am confident that our new, focused strategies will deliver on the challenging targets we have set for growth in Spanish and Italian visitors, between now and 2020.”