Ireland set to have record number of tourists in 2016

The total amount spent on marketing the island of Ireland overseas increased in 2016 for the first time in five years, according to new figures.

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By John Smith and Kieva McLaughlin

The total amount spent on marketing the island of Ireland overseas increased in 2016 for the first time in five years.

The tourism marketing fund for 2016 was €35,053,000, an increase of €1,000,000 compared to the figure for 2015.

The total figure for the marketing fund decreased annually from the years 2011 to 2015, making 2016 the first year to see an increase in the fund in five years.

marketing-ireland-chart
Source: Kieva McLaughlin and John Smith

From 2008 until 2011, there is a clear correlation between the amount spent on marketing and the number of tourists who visited Ireland. However, from 2012 to 2015, the number of tourists continued to rise even as the amount spent decreased.

Supposedly, this rise in tourists will continue to increase, with over 9 million tourists, the highest number ever, expected to have visited Ireland by the end of this year.

The majority of the 2016 fund, €25,106,000, comes from the State’s share of the agreed North/South co-funding of Tourism Ireland’s destination marketing of the island of Ireland overseas.

 Year Tourism Marketing Fund (Tourism Ireland’s allocation) Tourism Marketing Fund (Fáilte Ireland’s allocation) Tourism Marketing Fund (TOTAL)
2008 €33,685,000 €16,315,000 €50,000,000
2009 €32,185,000 €15,065,000 €47,250,000
2010 €30,242,000 €14,008,000 €44,250,000
2011 €34,942,000 €11,141,000 €46,083,000
2012 €29,335,000 €10,019,000 €39,354,000
2013 €28,445,000 €8,800,000 €37,245,000
2014 €28,363,000 €8,213,000 €36,576,000
2015 €25,992,000 €8,061,000 €34,053,000
2016 €25,106,000 €9,947,000 €35,053,000

Source: Kieva McLaughlin and John Smith 

Tourism Ireland is a north/south body, and therefore receives funding from the Northern Ireland exchequer for its core overseas marketing activity. The agreed ratio for marketing activity is two euros in the south for one euro in the north.

Tourism Ireland Ltd is the all-island tourism marketing company that was established after the Good Friday Agreement.

The remainder of the fund, €9,947,000, is used by Fáilte Ireland to support niche, product and regional marketing.

The marketing of Ireland overseas appears to be paying off as CSO figures show that overseas visits to Ireland for 2015 grew by 13.7% compared to 2014.

All of the main overseas markets grew in 2015. Visits from Mainland Europe increased by 15.4%; visits from the U.K. were up by 12.1%; visits from North America increased by 14.0% and other long-haul markets increased by 13.7%.

Tourism Ireland undertook the extensive Global Greening initiative as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, which saw some 180 landmark buildings and sites, including the Great Wall of China, and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, light up green to mark the day.

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