Tourism to Ireland increases
While holidaying abroad may save Irish people more money than a staycation at home, it seems that the high prices and crumbling economy haven’t put off overseas tourists from choosing to visit the country.
The Irish Times reports that new figures published by the Central Statistics Office show that the number of trips to Ireland from foreign tourists has increased by 2.7 per cent. In total, 1,145,900 trips were made to Ireland – this is an increase of over 30,500 from last year’s figure.
Naturally enough this means good news for Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industries – and let’s not forget our struggling economy which will welcome the fact that tourists are coming to our shores to sightsee, buy souvenirs and splash their cash on food, drink and accommodation.
Niall Gibbons, the chief executive of Tourism Ireland said the figures were a “positive start” to 2012 and happily welcomed the improvement in tourist numbers.
“We anticipate that growth in overseas visitors numbers for the first quarter of this year will be slow; however, overall sentiment and anecdotal feedback from tour operators and travel trade contacts in key markets, as well as from people working in the tourism industry around Ireland, is cautiously optimistic – particularly for quarters two and three of 2012,” he said.
Mr Gibbons also expressed his delight at the increase in visitors from Britain. According to Mr Gibbons, the UK is our largest and most important market with 45 per cent of all our overseas visitors coming from the UK.
The CSO reports that trips to Ireland from Britain were up by 6.6 per cent to 577,600 which can only mean good things for our tourism industry.
Speaking about the figures, Gina Quin, the chief executive of Dublin Chamber, said that the figures were “encouraging” and that Ireland must keep up this momentum when it comes to attracting overseas visitors.
“The decision by Government last year to create a new lower rate of VAT at 9 per cent was particularly important for the tourism sector, which has been significantly impacted out of the global recession,” she said.
So while overseas tourists are going mad to get into Ireland, Irish people are heading abroad to try and save some money.