16% growth in value, an additional €250 million spent in the country to a total of €1.78 billion
12% increase in visitor volume, 400,000 more arrivals to reach 3,876,000
10% more bed nights spent in the country.
20% growth in holiday visits with spending up 34%
432,000 more staying visitors in 2014.
Strong US$ boosts spending by North American visitors.
Accommodation sectors benefit from an uplift in demand, with rental sector experiencing a marked increase.




Good growth across all source markets

The first half of the year saw impressive growth in volume and value from each of the main source markets, compared to the same period a year ago. More importantly the rate of growth in visitor expenditure outstripped the volume growth from most markets. While mainland Europe continues to be the most valuable source market, North America generated half of the additional €250m spent in the country over the period.


For the first time the North American market has overtaken the British market as a source of tourism earnings for the country in the first half of the year.

The expectation that the strong US dollar would boost expenditure in the country is supported by the data, which shows visits from North America up 15%, bed nights up 22% and expenditure up 34%, suggesting a higher average spend per visit and per night. The average spend per night in the country by North American visitors is reported to be 10% higher compared to the first half of 2014.

Despite a stronger £ sterling compared to a year ago, the results do not show any appreciable uplift in average visitor expenditure by British visitors. The average expenditure per night from British visitors increased by just 2%, suggesting that on average they spent less of their stronger currency.

As the majority of mainland European visitors to Ireland come from the Eurozone, no specific boost from the currency advantage was anticipated. The average spend by night from the market was up by an estimated 4%.


The increase in holiday visitors over the first six months was the main driver of the overall increase in arrivals. The number of holiday visits increased by 20% compared to a year earlier – one of the strongest performances ever recorded. The total number of holiday visitors is estimated at almost 1.7 million. Receipts from holiday visits are estimated to have increased by 34% to €936 million. The very impressive growth in holiday expenditure is largely due to the increase in the number of American holiday visits and their higher spend.

Holiday visits from mainland Europe and from North America were up by 23% and 21% respectively, to new record first half year volumes. Holiday visits from Britain were up 16%, while growth in holiday demand from the rest of the world was more modest at +7%.


VFR, which was the driver of growth in the first half of 2014, would appear to have stabilised, with a 4% increase in volume to 1,048,000 visits. VFR expenditure slipped by 4%, compared to a year ago, to an estimated €349 million.

Business visitors were up 9%, estimated at just over 700,000, with the corresponding spend up 8% to €323 million.



Almost 26.5 million bednights were spent in the country by overseas visitors over the first six months of the year. This was a 10% increase on the previous year or an extra 2.45 million bed nights.

Hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and rented accommodation benefited from an increase in demand. Together they catered for just under 14.5 million bednights, a 20% increase compared to a year ago. Each of the categories of paid accommodation gained market share, as the number of nights spent with friends and relatives declined by 6%, falling below 7 million, while ‘other’ accommodation increased by 7% to almost 5 million.

The hotel sector catered to an estimated 7.35 million bednights, an 18% increase on the same period a year ago, enjoying good growth across all source markets. 2.35 million from mainland Europe (+19%), with 1.7 million from North America (+20%) and almost 1.7 million from Britain (+15%), with just under 0.6 million from the rest of the world (+18%). Hotels increased their share by 2 percentage points to 28%.

Demand for Guesthouses & B&Bs rose fastest with a 28% increase to just under 2.5 million bednights. Mainland Europe continues to be the prime source of business for the sector but it particularly benefited from the increase in North American visitors.

Rented accommodation received a 23% boost catering to 4.7 million bednights, with a doubling of demand from mainland Europe and an estimated 80% increase from North America. An element of the increase in demand is presumably due to the growing incidence of use of Airbnb and similar channels.

The 6% drop in nights spent in non-paid accommodation with friends and relatives reflects the modest year on year growth in VFR traffic coupled with a decline in length of stay.


Source: Tourism and Travel Quarter 2 2015, CSO statistical release, 17 September 2015

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