POSTED BY: Trish Brady

Happy World Tourism Day!

27th Sep, 2018
dublin airport arrivals

Happy World Tourism Day!

Today is World Tourism Day, making it the perfect time to reflect on the tourism of our own island. New data from Fáilte Ireland provides an interesting look at Ireland’s tourism industry.

In 2017 Ireland had over 9 million visitors and Tourism Ireland predicts that it will be well over the 10 million mark by the end of 2018.

Did you know that Longford is Ireland’s least-visited county? Or that 32% of tourists still think beer and potatoes are the standouts of Irish food – what!?

Once tourists are here they spend more on food and drink than on accommodation and the North Americans spend way more than anyone else when they visit.

Who spends more

British visitors remain Ireland’s single-largest tourism market, followed by Mainland Europe (36.1%), North America (19%) and others (6.7%).

North American visitors spent €1,525,000,000 last year! Though their numbers are less than half that of British visitors, who spent €1,046,000,000 last year.


Ireland’s number one paid visitor attraction is the Guinness Storehouse, followed by Cliffs of Moher and Dublin Zoo. The top 3 free attractions are: National Gallery of Ireland, Castletown House in Kildare and Glendalough.

Most visited County

Dublin is the country’s most visited county by a long shot (5,936,000) followed by Galway (1,673,000), Cork (1,600,000), Kerry (1,277,000) and Clare (749,000).

Only 24,000 people visited Longford in 2017, making it the least visited county but that will all change when the Irish Centre Parcs resort opens in Longford Forest next year!

Irish Food & Drink

Asked what stands out when they think of Irish food and drink, 32% of potential visitors said ‘beer’ and 15% ‘potatoes’. Producers, chefs, restaurateurs along with Fáilte Ireland are hoping to change that with a new food tourism strategy aimed at “redefining the appeal of Irish cuisine.”

Where do they stay?

19% of overseas visitors stay in hotels. This compares to 8% for guesthouses and B&Bs, 20% for self-catering and 27% stay with friends and relatives.

In 2017 640,000 visitors stayed in Airbnb, this summer [2018] was Airbnb’s busiest summer ever in Ireland.

Why they come…

92% of visitors view ‘friendly, hospitable people’ as an important consideration for a holiday in Ireland.

Other considerations include beautiful scenery (92%), safety and security (88%), a natural, unspoilt environment (87%), history and culture (85%) and an easy, relaxed pace of life (76%).

But where do the Irish go?

68% of Irish people went abroad in 2017 with 15% opting to stay home in Ireland. Spain is the most popular holiday destination (38%) closely followed by Portugal, Italy, England and then France. When we do opt to stay home Kerry is the favourite county for our staycations.

Happy Travels!


Trish Brady, UI Designer

Trish looks after digital design here in Neworld, bringing a wealth of experience and insight to every project. Her favourite Irish County to visit is Cork and as long as a foreign destination has sun, wine and a swimming pool she’s not fussy!