Tourism Ireland is celebrating 2018 as the best year ever for overseas tourism to the island of Ireland.
Some 11.2 million visitors took a holiday to Ireland this year, bringing in an estimated €6.1 billion in revenue, up 10% from 2017.
Record numbers arrived here from North America, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets.
Some of the promotional highlights of the year were rooted in Donegal and surrounding areas.
In January, Tourism Ireland launched the final phase of its Star Wars campaign, targeting fans of the science fiction franchise around the world. Scenes from The Last Jedi were shot in Donegal, Kerry and Clare in 2016, and the natural locations earned much praise from Mark Hamill – aka Luke Skywalker.
Hamill praised Ireland’s beauty in special videos this year, saying: “To come back to Ireland was a great treat for all of us because the beauty of that country is unmatched. You get up in the morning and see vistas where I was sure it was a special effect”.
The ease of travelling to Donegal from Britain was part of the ‘Wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way’ initiative in Spring and Autumn this year.
The promotion targetted 10 million Britons to entice holidaymakers there to visit the Wild Atlantic Way during the off-season months. The campaign highlighted the ease of direct access from six British gateway cities to Cork, Kerry, Shannon, Knock, Donegal and City of Derry airport.
Other campaigns included the ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitz in the United States and an ‘Italian Job’, showcasing beauty spots such as Fanad Lighthouse in major cities around Italy.
Looking ahead to 2019, Tourism Ireland has launched a new global campaign – ‘Fill your Heart with Ireland’ – in the United States, Britain, France and Germany.
From January, it will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe and will feature less visited attractions and locations and aims to attract visitors all year round.
Tourism Ireland is planning to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6% in 2019, to €6.5 billion for the economies north and south.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are heading into 2019 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2018. Working with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism NI and our tourism partners, our aim is to spread this success throughout the year and around the entire island of Ireland – ensuring we maintain our renowned welcome and superb visitor experience.”Tags: