Belfast Telegraph

Rise in visitor numbers welcomed

A rise in the number of tourists has generated an extra 123 million euro for the Irish economy, according to new figures.

Overseas visitors spent about 1.535 billion euro between June and January - representing an increase of almost 9% on the same period last year, the Central Office of Statistics (CSO) found.

The CSO also revealed the number of holidays to Ireland increased by 7.8% over the first six months of this year with a 13% jump in tourists from Great Britain and a 9% rise in travellers from America.

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said high profile promotion campaigns and major events like the Giro d'Italia had paid off.

He said: "It must be remembered that 2013 was the year of the Gathering and overall expenditure from overseas visitors (excluding fares) grew by 11.9% to 3.262 billion euro for the year. Despite fears in some quarters that it would be difficult to achieve similar results in 2014, today's data shows that the positive momentum has been maintained which is tremendous news for everybody in our tourism sector."

The CSO figures were based on surveys of overseas visitors and detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bed nights.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, described the results as "good news".

He said: "Given that overseas tourism business accounts for almost 60% of all tourism revenue, this is good news indeed, with the increase in overseas holidaymakers and revenue helping to boost employment around the country.

"This was a strong first half and reflects the sentiment we are hearing from our tourism industry partners in the markets and here at home."

Meanwhile, Failte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn said efforts had to be made to sustain the growth.

"Tourism is certainly delivering the goods in terms of extra visitors and revenue and that's good news for jobs and businesses all around the country.

"However, there can be no room for complacency. A short-lived tourism boom will do us no favours. Instead, we need to ensure that current growth is sustainable and continuous," said Mr Quinn.

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