THE END OF The Gathering did not mean the end of tourism in Ireland as the period from December to February saw an 11% bump in visitor numbers.
Comparing the 3-month period of December 2012 to February 2013 with the period December 2013 to February 2014, overall trips to Ireland were up by 11.3 per cent.
Trips from Great Britain were up by 14.1 per cent, mainland Europe up by 3.5 per cent, North America up by 16.7 per cent and visits from the rest of the world increased by 20.6 per cent.
Overall, 1.3 million people visited Ireland in the three months since December.
The Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said that the number will rise, as the travel tax falls to €0.
“In terms of our overseas visitors, these figures suggest that the positive momentum generated by The Gathering in 2013 is being maintained into 2014.
“I was particularly pleased with the strong numbers from our most important markets like Great Britain, which is up 14.1 per cent, North America, which is up 16.7 per cent, and Germany, which is up 6.3 per cent. Fortunately trade and industry sentiment in relation to 2014 is generally positive and I am confident that we can achieve our target of growing overseas visits by another 4 per cent this year.
“Of course, next week sees the reduction in the air travel tax to zero coming into effect. This initiative has already resulted in a number of carriers adding new routes into Ireland and will also help in terms of our competitiveness as a tourist destination.”