THERE WAS A fall in the number of British people visiting Ireland this year but the number of visitors from mainland Europe and North America rose according to new figures.
The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) has released its annual figures with mixed bag of results showing overall overseas visitors were the same as 2011 with close to 6.5 million people visiting the Ireland.
That’s still down on tourism levels during the boom with figures also showing that in the peak summer months of July and August arrivals were down 7 per cent and 1 per cent respectively when compared to last year.
The economic turmoil across the water is likely to have impacted on the number of British tourists crossing the Irish sea with 100,000 fewer visitors from Britain this year, a four per cent drop.
But Britain remains Ireland’s largest market for tourists with 2.8 million arrivals this year.
In other markes there was a two per cent increase in arrivals from mainland Europe – almost 2.4 million visitors – and an increase in visitors from North America which saw close to one million arrivals.
This graph from the ITIC shows the number of overseas visitors to Ireland over the past five years, underlining the overall drop in tourism numbers since the financial crisis, although visits from the rest of the world have increased since 2007:
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Domestically the ITIC said that the market performed “reasonably well” given the economic circumstances and poor weather over the summer.
This contributed to less frequent, shorter and lower spending trips by people resident in Ireland who chose to stay in the country.
The outlook for 2013 is positive according to the ITIC with The Gathering initiative identified as having the potential to attract more visits, particularly from the diaspora and an overall increase of 5 per cent is possible, it said.