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11.2m overseas visitors visited Ireland in 2018

Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019 4:54pm

After 2018 was declared Ireland’s busiest tourism year on record in December, the Government has published its plan to bolster the sector for the next three years.

The Tourism Action Plan for 2019-2021 was published in December by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin, and aims to build on the success of Ireland’s tourism sector this year.

2018 has officially been deemed the busiest year for tourism in Ireland, with Tourism Ireland this week reporting that a staggering 11.2 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2018, an increase of six per cent from 2017. Money spent by tourists increased by ten per cent from 2017 to €6.1 billion.

“The development of the Tourism Action Plan 2019-2021 comes at a time when tourism is performing very strongly, providing vital jobs and revenue across the country,” Minister Ross said.

“Notwithstanding this success, it is important to examine what actions are required to sustain this performance over the coming years. This plan addresses the potential for recalibrated growth targets, sustainable tourism, a greater emphasis on regional growth and season extension, enhanced tourism experiences and the contribution of wider Government to support tourism.”

The Tourism Action Plan follows the tourism policy statement launched by the Government back in 2015, which set out the tourism policy objectives for the subsequent decade, and the establishment of the tourism leadership group, who agreed on priority actions to be addressed in the period to 2018.

Minister Ross said the 26 per cent increase in funding for the tourism sector in Budget 2019 would allow for sustainable growth in line with key actions in the Tourism Action Plan.

“The budget increase also represents a significant step towards restoring overseas tourism marketing funds to pre-recession levels on a phased basis, as committed to in the previous Tourism Action Plan,” he added.

Minister Griffin said he welcomed the new plan’s aim to further build relationships and encourage collaboration within the tourism industry. He said: “I also welcome the continued acknowledgement of the central role for local authorities in tourism and the commitment to strengthen the relationship between local communities and the tourism sector. One of the most frequently stated reasons to visit Ireland is the friendliness and hospitality of the Irish people, and I believe that the participation of local communities will be essential to build on our recent success.”

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