Erasmus+ brings over 25,000 visitors to Ireland – worth €14m to economy



By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 5 September, 2016

Erasmus+ students coming to study or work in Ireland under the EU Programme are responsible for encouraging almost 25,000 visitors to this country. It is estimated that this annual influx is worth in the region of €14m[1] to the Irish economy. The findings were uncovered following a survey conducted by the Higher Education Authority, which manages the Erasmus+ programme in Ireland. The survey is being launched today (Monday 5th). Erasmus+ is the third level student exchange programme of the European Union.

In 2015-16, a total of 7,200 students came to Ireland with over 5,000 enrolling in Irish higher education institutions and the remainder undertaking traineeships (internships) in a variety of business and manufacturing sectors. The survey[2] found that 80% of students, who spend from 2 (min) to 12 months (max) in the country, received at least one visitor (family or friend) with the overall average being 4.3 visitors per person. The duration of stay ranges from 3 to 15 days averaging at 7 days.

Gerry O’Sullivan, Head of International Education at the HEA commented,

The findings reveal an often overlooked benefit to the wider economy of Ireland’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. International education partnerships of this type drive tourism numbers, the benefits of which are felt nationwide with 36% of students located in Dublin, 18% in the rest of Leinster, a further 33% in Munster and 12% in Connacht/Ulster”.

Dublin is the favourite destination of visitors reflecting the most used point of entry to the country, followed by Galway, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Belfast and Derry. However, Wicklow, Clare, Waterford and Donegal were not far behind on the list which shows that nearly every county from North to South, East to West welcomes Erasmus+ tourists each year.

Five countries supply nearly 80% of visitors – France tops the list at 38% followed by Germany 17%, Spain 12%, Italy 8% and The Netherlands 4%.

This trend is set to continue. The number of incoming students has increased significantly over the past 7 years. In 2007/2008 Ireland welcomed 4,515 students from participating European higher education institutions. This number has gone up to 7,219 in 2015/2016 and is likely to increase even further in the years to come.

The Erasmus+ programme for higher education has been a great success among the participating institutions and has proved to be a major asset in enhancing employability among graduates in Ireland and abroad. Furthermore, the noticeable and ever growing presence of these students in this country represents a very visible impact of the internationalisation of the Irish higher education system.

  1. Calculated on the basis of an average duration of 7 days with a daily spend of €77 (total €539 – Fáilte Ireland estimate 2016)
  2. The online survey was carried out on a sample of 2014/2015 incoming students

More: Erasmus+, EU, Fáilte Ireland, Gerry O’Sullivan, Head of International Education at the HEA

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