New tourism targets set after projected revenue and visitor numbers reached seven years early

The Government is to revise upwards it projections for visitor numbers and revenue after targets previously published have been overtaken seven years in advance.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, along with the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, have now adopted increased performance targets for tourism in Ireland.

When the Government’s tourism policy was originally launched in 2015, it targeted overseas revenue of €5 billion (in real terms) by 2025, together with 10 million overseas visitors and employment of 250,000 in the sector. However, the strong performance in the sector in recent years has resulted in these targets being achieved well ahead of schedule in 2018.

Minister Ross has met with the Government’s Tourism Leadership Group about the upward revisions of the Tourism Action Plan 2019-2021. The Tourism Ministers have agreed to adopt the following performance targets out to 2025:


Headline Target

  • Revenue from overseas tourists, excluding carrier receipts, will increase to €6.5 billion in real terms (i.e. excluding the effects of inflation) by 2025, up from €5.2 billion in 2018. 

Secondary Targets

  • Employment in the tourism sector will be 310,000 by 2025, compared to around 260,000 in 2018.
  • There will be 11.6 million tourists visiting Ireland annually by 2025 (tourists are defined as overseas visitors staying at least one night – the figure in 2018 was 9.5 million).


Commenting on the new targets, Minister Shane Ross said:

“It is good to be able to announce these revised targets. We have come through a period of exceptional growth which has reinforced the economic importance of tourism to Ireland. What we need to do now is to continue to grow in a manner that is sustainable – economically, environmentally and socially. By placing a primary focus on revenue from overseas visitors, we are supporting this approach.  There is no doubt that the targets we are setting are challenging but, I believe, they are attainable even against the current indications of a tightening travel market. I am satisfied that we in Government have a policy environment in place which will facilitate the achievement of these targets by the tourism sector. The additional funding provided to Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland this year is allowing the agencies both to implement strategies for growth in key overseas markets, and also further develop the tourism product here in Ireland to meet the growing demand. I am well aware that tourism in Ireland is vulnerable to international economic developments and while these events are outside of our control I am confident that the sector is resilient enough to keep growing notwithstanding any short-term difficulties that do arise”. 


Minister of State Brendan Griffin said:

“It is timely that we are setting new targets now. We have seen huge growth in the sector in recent years and it is useful to take stock of where we are now and where we want to go. Tourism is a vital indigenous economic sector and continued growth will help to sustain communities right across Ireland, particularly in rural areas. It is true that there are some challenges out there, not least Brexit. However, I am sure that the sector will overcome these as it has in the past and, allowing for short-term variation, the overall trend will remain positive.

Growing tourism in our regions, particularly in areas with potential to develop further, will be one of the drivers towards achieving these targets. In addition, extending the tourism season can also make a positive contribution to growth. These are objectives with which the tourism agencies are very much in line with the Tourism Action Plan 2019-2021. I look forward to working with the Tourism Leadership Group to help put the building blocks in place to deliver on the performance objectives we have set today.”