Revenue from overseas visitors to Ireland reached record levels in 2018 and the tourism sector continues to perform strongly this year following 8 consecutive years of growth. Overseas visitor data released by the CSO for the first half of 2019 show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors was €2,276 million, up 0.3% on the same period in 2018.
In Budget 2020, I secured an allocation of €186 million for tourism, up 10% (over €17m) on the 2019 allocation, which puts the sector in a strong position to grow next year. The additional resources in 2020 are primarily directed at tourism product development, including Greenways, and build on the €35 million increase in 2019. Furthermore, €7 million is being provided in a 2019 supplementary budget, to support accelerated tourism marketing initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts of Brexit. Budget 2020 also provided for an additional €40 million contingency fund in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.
Fáilte Ireland recently unveiled its plans for 2020 which focus on helping to sustain and support the tourism industry region by region.
Tourism Ireland will launch its 2020 marketing plans in early December. These plans will be consistent with the tourism commitments under the Government's Global Ireland Strategy. Under this Strategy, we are committed to developing tourism from new and emerging tourism markets with potential for Ireland. In Budget 2019, I provided almost €4 million in additional funding to Tourism Ireland to enable it to commence the implementation of strategies for growth in these new and emerging markets.
As the Deputy may be aware, in July of this year, the Government adopted new Tourism targets out to 2025. The headline target is revenue from overseas tourists of €6.5 billion (in real terms) by 2025. Secondary targets have also been set and they are: employment in the sector increasing to 310,000; and 11.6 million overseas tourist visits by 2025.