Junior Minister says Gathering and increased access added to visitor numbers

Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has described new figures showing a 7.3 per cent increase in visitor numbers this year as “phenomenal”.

Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has described new figures showing a 7.3 per cent increase in visitor numbers this year as “phenomenal”.

“The combination of The Gathering, more flights into Ireland, better value for money and the Government’s own initiatives have made 2013 a truly great year for tourism. These are phenomenal figures with increased visitor numbers from all our main markets, particularly from our higher spending long-haul markets,” Minister Ring said.

New CSO figures show more than over 6 million overseas visits to Ireland in the first ten months of the year - an increase of 7.3 per cent on the corresponding period in 2012.

For the first ten months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012:

- North American visits were up by 14.6 per cent

- visits from Great Britain were up by 5.1 per cent

- mainland European visits were up by 5.6 per cent

- other long-haul routes were up by 14.4 per cent

“This is just the latest good economic news about Irish tourism. Earlier this week we learned that 25 per cent of all new employment growth in the last year is in the tourism-related accommodation & food tourism sector. Tourism is playing a leading role in our economic recovery and I am confident that we will meet the key targets we set for The Gathering.

“I’m really pleased by the visitor numbers from Britain, which has been one of our most challenging markets in recent years. We had 12.2 per cent more visitors from Britain between July and September, compared to the same three months in 2012. Our Launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans next week will help us to continue getting the message out that there has never been a better time to visit Ireland.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland said: “Today’s figures from the CSO for the ten-month period to the end of October are very strong, showing growth from almost all of our markets around the world. We are seeing record growth this year from North America (+14.6 per cent up to the end of October); and from our long-haul markets (+14.4 per cent), with Australia and New Zealand in particular driving that growth. I am particularly pleased to see a good return to growth in British visitor numbers (+5.1 per cent). Mainland Europe is also playing its part in growing tourism business from overseas this year (+5.6 per cent); in fact, 2013 looks set to be the best year ever for visitors from Germany, France and Spain. Next week we will launch our marketing plans for 2014 and beyond – when we will announce details of how we will build on the success of 2013 and sustain growth in overseas tourism into the future.”

Welcoming the figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn said: “Today’s figures are further evidence of an impressive recovery in the tourism sector. Working closely with tourism businesses, Fáilte Ireland has been hearing of growth across all sectors – accommodation, attractions, and restaurants - as well as receiving direct feedback that overseas markets are now really delivering for tourism businesses - in particular North America. A combination of The Gathering, recent Government initiatives and improving overseas markets has helped to ensure that tourism has begun to reap the benefits of increased visitors, employment and revenue.”