Connectivity played a key role in the rise in visitor numbers here in July, according to the chief executive of Tourism Ireland.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office yesterday pointed to a 12.5% increase in visitor numbers in July making it the best July ever in volume terms. 

Britain still tops the list for numbers coming here.

Niall Gibbons said the exceptionally good weather we had in July wasn't a big contributory factor to the performance.

"It didn't do any harm but weather isn't a primary motivator for people coming here."

"There's been a resurgence in visitor numbers with an overall 8% increase in arrivals so far this year. All our markets are doing well. Connectivity played a key role. We're seeing the benefits of the Cathay Pacific and Hainan flights from China feeding into these figures with a 16% increase in long haul markets in July."

He said the recovery in the number of British visitors coming here was 'steady' but it was too early to say if it's long term.

"There was a 7% decline in the number of British people travelling here after the [Brexit] vote. Much of it was currency related. It's stabilised in the last number of months and in the last four months, there's been an increase in British visitor numbers. More British people are travelling abroad overall and Ireland is benefiting from that."

In terms of future growth, Niall Gibbons said Britain is still our biggest volume market but that Tourism Ireland has been focusing on market diversification.

"We're investing more heavily on the North America and mainland Europe markets. Those visitors tend to stay twice as long and spend twice as much."