Belfast Telegraph

Dublin Zoo tops popularity list

Dublin Zoo has been named Ireland's most popular place to visit.

Numbers to the city centre zoo grew by almost 7% to just over 960,000 in 2010 to take the top spot in the list of fee-paying attractions.

Figures released by Failte Ireland also showed the National Gallery of Ireland continued its dominance as the favoured free attraction, recording more than 736,000 visitors last year.

Shaun Quinn, of Failte Ireland, said despite 2010 being the most difficult year in tourism in decades the popularity of attractions remained quite high.

"It is clear from these figures that the drop in overseas figures was tempered somewhat by an increase in domestic visitors," he said.

"As more Irish people stayed at home in 2010, it is no surprise that family friendly attractions such as the Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park actually recorded significant increases."

After the zoo, the most popular fee paying attractions were the Guinness Storehouse, National Aquatic Centre, Cliffs of Moher and the Book of Kells.

The top free places to visit included the Botanic Gardens, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Farmleigh and Holy Cross Abbey.

Failte Ireland said encouraging families to take their summer breaks in Ireland will be the central message of its Home Holiday campaign for 2011. Mr Quinn said: "The domestic market is an important part of Ireland's tourism industry, accounting for two in three of all hotel bed nights and generating over 1.3 billion euro in revenue for Ireland's tourism industry.

"Visitor attractions will play a vital part in encouraging more Irish people to take a break at home this year and will feature significantly on our websites and in the brochures for our biggest ever home holiday campaign."

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From Belfast Telegraph