Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, welcomed the positive data, commenting: "Today’s data for the first quarter of 2016 shows continued strong growth in our overseas visit numbers which is welcome. Of course, the fact that Easter fell in March this year, along with the associated 1916 commemorative events, provided an added boost to these first quarter figures.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, added: "Today's figures represent an excellent start to the year, as we roll out our promotional programme around the world. It was the best ever March and the best ever first quarter for Irish tourism.
"These figures very much reflect the sentiment expressed by our tourism industry partners overseas, including tour operators and carriers, as well as tourism businesses here at home. Our focus now is on surpassing last year’s success, to ensure that 2016 is another record-breaking year for overseas tourism. Promoting the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route continues to be a major focus for Tourism Ireland. We are also showcasing Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’."