THE NUMBER OF trips to Ireland increased 8.1 per cent during March–May, marking an overall increase of 132,000 individual trips compared to the same period twelve months earlier, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Trips by North Americans residents to Ireland increased by 12.6 per cent to 282,300, while European visitors (not including residents of Great Britain) increased by 9.6 per cent to 676,000, and trips to Ireland from residents elsewhere in the world increased by 3.2 per cent to 87,000.
Trips by residents of Great Britain increased by 5.6 per cent to 726,300.
Meanwhile, the number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the same period decreased by 0.3 per cent to 1,518,100. The total number of trips overseas and within Ireland in the period increased by 4.0 per cent to 3,289,800 when compared with the same period one year earlier. There was an annual decrease of 1.6 per cent in the total number of trips taken when compared to the previous corresponding period.
Commenting on the CSO figures today, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said the data suggested “a positive start” to the year: “It is encouraging to see growth from all market areas and, in particular, from Great Britain. The Gathering Ireland has certainly played a major role in helping boost visitor numbers in the first five months of the year.”
Gibbons noted that certain markets, such as North America, were performing particularly well this year, and said that mainland Europe would be a “critical” area for tourism growth for the rest of 2013.
“We know that Great Britain continues to be challenging, with the pace of economic recovery and weak consumer confidence still continuing to impact on outbound travel,” Gibbons said. “However, despite these challenges, it is extremely encouraging to see growth of +2.8 per cent for this three-month period.”
He said that Tourism Ireland would soon roll out a new plan in 2013 named “GB Path to Growth”, which will aim to grow the number of British holidaymakers by +20 per cent (an additional 200,000 holiday visitors per year) by 2016.
Gibbons added that overseas tourism played “a critical role” in Ireland’s economic recovery, noting that overseas tourism business accounts for 59 per cent (approximately €3.5 billion) of all tourism revenue.
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