THE NUMBER of trips to Ireland made by non-residents from overseas in 2011 was up by almost eight per cent on the previous year, new figures have shown.
Figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office indicate that non-residents took 6,621,000 trips to Ireland in the 2011 calendar year – up by 7.9 per cent from the 6.14 million that had been made in the previous year.
In news that will provide a boost to the tourism industry, the figures also show that the number of trips made by Irish residents overseas fell by 4.2 per cent last year too – suggesting that those who could afford to take holidays may have opted to stay in Ireland than travel elsewhere.
Another boost comes from figures showing that the number of nights spent in Ireland by overseas visitors increased by 6.1 per cent, and stood at 50.9 million nights, compared to 48 million in 2010.
Despite the bump in overseas numbers, however, spending by travellers increased more modestly – by a mere 0.7 per cent – to €3.58 billion. The amount spent by Irish travellers overseas dropped by 7.2 per cent to €4.83 billion.
Also of note is the fact that the 7.9 per cent increase in total visitors comes in spite of a drop in the numbers travelling from the other side of the Atlantic. Transatlantic visitors fell by 10,000, or 1.5 per cent, to 652,000.
The numbers travelling from Britain rose by 7.1 per cent to 3.67 million, while the total numbers coming from continental Europe were up by almost 10 per cent to 2.3 million.