There has been a 4.2% increase in the number of overseas visitors to Ireland in the first half of the year, according to the latest Central Statistics Office figures.
There was an increase of over 20% in visitor numbers from the North American market which Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons described as “spectacular”.
Visitor numbers from mainland Europe, particularly from Germany, Spain and France, grew by 6%.
However, there has been a 6% decrease in British visitors.
Mr Gibbons said this is due to currency rates which have made holidays more expensive for British tourists.
He said it is important that Ireland offers value for money because this currency volatility is likely to continue.
Mr Gibbons said:
“Certainly the next 18 months are ones to watch … particularly in the off-peak season.
“We’ve a very active campaign in Great Britain at the moment working very closely with the tour operators there and a very active advertising campaign at the moment too.
“But we have to make sure that we offer value for money to the British consumer who has essentially seen the prices of their holidays to the eurozone as a whole increase by 15% over the last year.”
Tourism Ireland say Britain accounts for 47% of all overseas visitors and about 30% of all overseas tourism revenue.
In regard to Brexit, Mr Gibbons said the Common Travel Area will be very important but that is not having an impact right now.
He said he hopes the British-Irish visa scheme will be retained in the long term.
The scheme was introduced by the Department of Justice and the Home Office in the UK to India and China allowing Ireland and Britain to be marketed as a single destination.