NEW FIGURES FROM the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number of people visiting Ireland at the end of 2012 increased by 3.9 per cent.
The figures for September to November showed strong growth of 5.8 per cent in visitors from mainland Europe compared to 2011, a 7.9 per cent increase in visitors from long-haul markets, and a 19.7 per cent increase in visitor numbers from the United States.
Other figures from the three-month period include:
- Visits from Germany up 12 per cent, Scandinavia up 10.6 per cent and Spain up 7.7 per cent;
- Tourists from non-traditional European markets were up 8.6 per cent;
- Britain registered a decline of 3 per cent in visits;
- Visits from the rest of the world increased by 7.9 per cent, with Australia and New Zealand growing by 18.7 per cent.
Overall, visitor numbers for the year to November match those for 2011 with over six million visitors. Other figures include:
- A rise of 2.6 per cent in visits from the European market excluding the UK;
- Visits from North America grew by 2.9 per cent (962,000 visits);
- Other (i.e. long-haul) markets registered a 4.5 per cent increase (346,100 visits);
- Britain registered a decrease of 3.7 per cent (2.55 million visits).
Commenting on the figures today, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, said that marketing efforts have moved up a level to promote The Gathering and the inclusion of Ireland on Fodor’s Travel ‘Go List’ was a “further boost”.
“This positive coverage will help us to fill the expected 20 per cent extra capacity on transatlantic flights into Ireland this summer,” he said.
Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, said that the economic landscape in 2013 presents a challenging environment for travel. However he said he believes, working with their industry partners, they can deliver a five per cent increase in visitor numbers with North America and mainland Europe representing significant potential.