€4.68 billion gross earnings from overseas visitors, including €1.18 billion payment to Irish carriers, a 10.4% year on year increase in current terms.
€3.5 billion spent in the country, +8.7% in current terms on the previous year.
€514 average spend per visit, excluding fares paid to Irish carriers, +2% on the previous year.
6.8 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2014, +6.8% (excluding day visits).
432,000 more staying visitors in 2014.
7.2 nights was the average length of stay, down marginally.
55 million bednights spent in the country by visitors from overseas, +8%
776,000 same day visits, +31% (includes transfer passengers via Dublin Airport)

Source: CSO



Source: CSO


2014 was another excellent year for Irish tourism, with aggregate visitor volumes the best since 2008, although earnings are still some way off pre-recession values. The improved economic climate in source markets, the expansion of capacity on air and sea services to Ireland, coupled with the improved competitiveness of the Ireland offering and investment in marketing by the industry and state agencies resulted in a welcome boost to tourist receipts and visitor numbers. A look behind the data recently released by the CSO on 2014, coupled with a top line analysis of performance over recent years, shows up some interesting results.

€4.7 billion in earnings from overseas tourists in 2014

Aggregate earnings from foreign tourists to the Irish economy in 2014 amounted to €4.68 billion, a 10% increase in current terms on 2013. Irish carriers earned an estimated €1.13 billion from visitors travelling to Ireland, with €3.55 billion spent in the country by staying and day visitors from overseas.


Overseas Visitors to Ireland 2008 - 2014
No. of Visits 000s (1)
Spend € millions (2)
Average spend per visit
Average length of stay (nights)
Source: CSO

Notes: Due to methodological changes there is a slight discontinuity with pre-2009 data.

- Visits refer to staying at least overnight (excludes arrivals via Northern Ireland)
(2) - Est. spend for staying visitors excludes fares paid to Irish carriers


Businesses in Ireland earned €280 million more from overseas visitors in 2014 compared to the previous year (excluding fares paid to Irish carriers). Revenue receipts from overseas staying visitors increased by 9% in current terms last year to reach €3.5 billion.

Continental Europe continues to be the most valuable source market at €1.3 billion. Earnings from North American visitors at €935 million surpassed Britain (€885m) as a source of earnings for the first time in 2014.

Increased earnings from North American and German visitors accounted for almost 60% of the incremental increase in earnings in 2014. Receipts from Rest of the World, at €421m, and Germany at €334m, grew by 17% in each case. Spending by North American visitors was up 14%, while earnings from the British market were up 4.5%. In each of the past two years earnings from long haul markets have returned double digit growth rates, while earnings from continental Europe grew by 15% in 2013, but slowed to 6% growth in 2014. Britain has yielded annual growth over the same period of between 3% and 4% per annum.


Source: CSO


€1.8 billion spent in the country by holiday visitors was up 8% on the previous year and accounted for 52% of total earnings. Expenditure by VRF visitors increased by 17% to €784m, while spending by business visitors was up 1% to €580m.

The average spend in 2014 is estimated at €514 per visit, compared to €504 a year earlier. The average spend varies considerably depending on the visitor’s country of origin and purpose of visit. On average a holiday/leisure visitor spent €548 in the country, with business and VFR visitors spending on average €458 and €355 respectively. It would appear that the average expenditure per trip for holiday and business visitors fell marginally in 2014, while VFR average spend per trip increased.

The highest spenders per trip are visitors from long-haul markets, with Australians and New Zealanders topping the chart at an average of €931, followed by visitors from new emerging long-haul markets spending an average of €859. North American visitors are in third place in the league of trip expenditure spending an average of €704 in 2014, down marginally on the previous year. Germans were the top spenders amongst the European visitors with an average trip expenditure in Ireland of €600, with the majority of other Europeans spending around €500 per visit. British visitors with shorter average stays in the country spent less per trip, an average of close to €280.

It would appear that the average spend per trip from the new developing markets increased significantly last year, while the average expenditure per trip would appear to have slipped for many other markets in 2014, with the notable exceptions of Germany and Italy. A note of caution on this interpretation may be appropriate based on survey sample sizes.


Source: Derived from CSO




  • A quarter of a million more holiday visitors came in 2014, an 8% increase on the previous year to reach a total of 3,261,000 visits. This was the second successive year of an 8% increase in holiday visits, and accounted for almost half (48%) of all visits last year.
  • Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) continues to be an important component of overseas demand. Last year this segment continued to grow with a 10% increase to 2,162,000 visits.
  • Growth in business visitors would appear to have been sluggish in 2014, with just over 1 million staying visits, an increase of 2% on the previous year. Business travel accounts for 16% of visits.
  • Visits for other reasons were in decline, with a 10% drop to 316,000 visits or 4% of total visits.

Source: CSO


Mainland Europe continued to be the largest source of holiday/leisure visits accounting for just over 40% of the total by volume. Britain is the next largest source of holiday visitors accounting for 30% of the total, followed by North America at 24% and rest of the world at 6%.

Source: CSO


Within mainland Europe Germany is the top source market, accounting for 10% of all holiday visits to Ireland, followed by France the source of 8% of the demand.

2014 saw only marginal change in the relative importance of source markets for holiday visits, as growth in demand from North America outpaced the rate of growth from other markets. Over the period since 2008, mainland Europe and long haul markets have increased in importance as Britain declined in absolute and relative importance.


Holiday Visitors x Source Market 2008 & 2014
% change
v 2013
% change
v 2008
Mainland Europe
North America
Rest of World



Britain is the source of almost 3 out of every five VFR visitors – an estimated 1,254,000 in 2014 or 58% of all visits for this purpose. Mainland Europe has been an increasing as a source of VFR demand in over the past decade, reflecting migration patterns, and is now the source of 26% of VFR visits, or just over half a million visits. An estimated 350,000 visits to friends and relative originated from long haul source markets in 2014. It would appear that the number of VFR visits from mainland Europe grew by more than 10% last year, while demand from the long haul markets outside North America was also buoyant although small in volume.

Source: CSO




It would appear that the number of British business staying visitors dipped in 2014, while business trips from mainland Europe showed growth with demand from long haul markets largely unchanged. Britain accounts for just under half of all business visitors – 48% or an estimated 520,000 last year. Mainland European business visitors increased in relative importance to 38% share, followed by long haul markets the source of 14% of the demand.

Source: CSO



Overseas visitors spent a total of almost 55 million nights in Ireland in 2014, an 8% increase on the previous year.

Mainland European visitors generated 44% of total bednight demand, with just over 24 million nights, followed by British visitors accounting for 26% or 14.3 million. Long-haul markets of North America generated 9.8 million bednights with visitors from other long-haul markets spending 6.6 million nights in the country.


Source: CSO


Holiday visitors accounted for 40% of bednights in 2014, with VFR accounting for 30%, business 13% and those visiting for ‘other reasons’ 17%.

Bednights from VFR visits grew faster (+12%) than either the increase in bednights from holiday or business visits (each at close to +7%). This reflects the higher growth rate in VFR visits last year – the segment of the market with typically longest stays.

Where did they stay?

It would appear that all accommodation categories, other than hotels, enjoyed double digit increases in bednight demand from overseas visitors in 2014.

Paid serviced accommodations (Hotels, Guesthouses, and B&Bs) catered to 36% of the demand, while 29% of bednights were spent with friends and relatives at 29%. Rented accommodation commanded a 14% share of bednights, with a further 20% spent in other forms of accommodation.

Source: CSO


Aggregated demand for hotels increased by 3% compared to a year earlier to reach an estimated 14.7 million bednights. Demand from North America was up 7% and from Britain up 4%, but with no increase from mainland Europe its largest volume overseas source market. Demand for hotels was particularly sluggish from the holiday sector (+2%), which accounts for two thirds of its overseas demand. Hotels' share of demand slipped 1 percentage point to 27% of total bednights in 2014.


Source of Hotel Bednight Demand 2013 & 2014
Mainland Europe
North America
Rest of World


Guesthouses and B&Bs saw overseas demand increase by 16% in 2014 to an estimated 5.2 million bednights. The sector saw double digit growth from mainland Europe and North America combined with single digit increases from Britain and the Rest of the World. The increase in demand was noticeable across all purpose of visit segments.

Rented accommodation experienced a 13% increase in the number of bednights from overseas visitors, to reach 7.8 million, representing a 14% share. Demand from holiday visits increase by 28%, with demand from those visiting for ‘other reasons’, its largest source of demand, up 16%. Mainland Europeans account for close to 60% of demand for rented accommodation.

Unfortunately the CSO does not provide any analysis of visitation patterns across the regions or distribution of bednights by region. However, based on other data sources and anecdotal evidence it is safe to assume that the pattern of demand for categories of accommodation varies between Dublin, other major tourism hubs, and the rest of the country. Hence the aggregate national picture provided above will not necessarily reflect the experience in many parts of the country.

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