Belfast Telegraph

Tourism boost from St Patrick's Day

Around 140,000 people visited Ireland for the St Patrick's Day festivities this year, new figures have revealed.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said money spent by holidaymakers during the event has more than doubled since three years ago to 121 million euro.

"These figures suggest that the Gathering has got off to a strong start," he said.

"This year's extended St Patrick's Day Festival was one of the key events for the Gathering, and the 40% increase in overseas visitors is particularly encouraging."

The research, carried out for Failte Ireland, shows one in four (26%) of the visitors came from the US and almost one in three (29%) came from Britain, France and Germany.

There was also a big increase in visitors from other countries.

Excluding travel expenses, the average visitor spent 696 euro (£585) in Ireland this year compared with 416 euro (£349) three years ago.

Shaun Quinn, chief executive of Failte Ireland, said: "With the Gathering accounting for seven out of every 10 extra visitors, it is also evident that this initiative is making its mark and looks set to achieve everything we hoped it would."

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