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Around two-thirds of the 50,000 people who attended the Notre Dame v Navy game in Dublin were thought to have travelled from the US to watch it. INPHO/James Crombie

Small increase in number of overseas visitors to Ireland

Figures for August to October show a 1.6 per cent increase in visitors when compared to the same period in 2011.

THE NUMBER of people visiting Ireland from overseas rose, albeit only by a small amount, in the autumn months.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show a total of 1,848,600 overseas visitors to Ireland between August and October of 2012.

This represents a 1.6 per cent increase from the previous year, and 2.2 per cent on the equivalent months from 2010.

Visits from North America saw the greatest increase, standing at 337,200 – up by 14.9 per cent in the last year – while European visitors outside of Britain increased by 3.3 per cent.

These were driven in no small part by the Notre Dame v Navy college football game held in Dublin in September, where two-thirds of attendees were thought to have travelled directly from North America to see Notre Dame’s runaway success.

Visitors from Britain fell, however, for the second year in succession – from 840,500 in the three months last year to 802,700 this year, a drop of 4.5 per cent.

Overall visits to Ireland for the year to date stand at 5,631,300 – down only marginally from last year, but up by 7.4 per cent from 2010.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, welcomed the positive figures, and highlighted the “good growth from the North American, long-haul and European markets”.

He said the positive performance in North American travellers, particularly as a result of the American Football game which was sponsored by the Gathering, suggested that this tourism initiative could help to drive tourism higher again next year.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said he was pleased with the growth, which came despite a “challenging environment for travel” given the current economic climate.

“The pace of economic recovery in Great Britain and weak consumer confidence are still having a significant impact on outbound travel, with British visitor numbers down by 4.5 per cent for the three-month period,” he said.

Read: Michael Ring insists 2023 Rugby World Cup bid is ‘realistic’

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