Tourism Close to 2019 Level

Overseas tourism to Ireland this year is expected to reach 75% of the 2019 figures - a year which saw more than 11 million overseas visits to the island and revenue of nearly €6bn.

International travel has rebounded more quickly than anticipated this year, with factors like pent-up demand for travel, deferred bookings and accumulated savings leading to a surge in travel to Ireland.

Air and sea capacity has also been returning at a faster rate than expected, with air capacity for this winter at 102% of air capacity in winter 2019.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland (pictured with Minister Catherine Martin), said, "Despite all the headwinds that have been well documented already, we feel that we're looking at a strong recovery again in 2023."

He said Ireland is not unique in facing difficulties in terms of the economy, currency fluctuations and the war in Ukraine, but these issues are affecting every country around the globe. He also said that in the British market particularly, Ireland is a country that is "hassle free".

"It's next door, it's easy to get to," he said.

"There will be 200,000 seats on sale every week next summer with Ryanair, Aer Lingus and other carriers. We will have 40,000 spaces on our car ferries on the channel ferries alone."

Mr Gibbons said the priority is to build business in the regions and outside of the peak travel periods for British tourists.

"For us, it's about trying to regrow demand in real terms by 2025 to 2019 levels. There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved. Competitiveness is very, very important," he said.

"There are issues that are probably beyond Tourism Ireland's pay grade on the supply side, but certainly on the demand side we're seeing a good degree of optimism and certainly a good base to build on from 2022 as we look to the future."