At the recent launch of its 2019 marketing strategy and plans, Tourism Ireland set out its targets for 2019. Next year, it aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6% to €6.5 billion for the island of Ireland and to grow visitor numbers to 11.67 million (+4%). 2019 will undoubtedly present some challenges – not least the continued uncertainty around Brexit, which may impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from Britain. Competitiveness and value for money will continue to be a key message in Britain and elsewhere next year. Other challenges include economic and geo-political uncertainty, as well as the potential for oil price inflation.
Budget 2019 provided for the largest increase in the tourism budget in 15 years. Additional funding has been allocated to both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland to respond to the impact of Brexit and to spread the economic benefits of tourism across the year and around the country. The detailed plans of the agencies are an operational matter for the boards and management of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. I have referred this part of the Deputy's question to the tourism agencies for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.