In 2016, 10.5 million people visited the island, up almost 1.5 million from 2015, with tourists spending €5.4 billion while they were here, the Irish Times reports.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said “It is clear that 2016 will be another record-breaking year for Irish tourism.”
“We have seen exceptional results from North America for January to November – up more than +18% on the same eleven-month period in 2015. I also welcome the strong increase in British visitors (over +11%). And Mainland Europe has also turned in another excellent performance (almost +9%), with important markets like Spain, France and Germany all recording good growth.”
In November, National Geographic Traveller (UK), declared Donegal the “coolest place on the planet.”Editor Pat Riddell said that a panel of the magazine’s contributors “considered many destinations for our Cool List 2017. But we felt Donegal was in a real sweet spot – off-radar and hard to access, but on the cusp of a breakthrough.”
“On the one hand, you have big pushes like the Wild Atlantic Way and the recent visit of Star Wars; on the other you only have to drive a few miles to have a beach or a road completely to yourself . . . there’s an array of reasons to visit, from surfing beaches in Magheroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head – a driving, walking of cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell,” says the magazine.