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Tourists spent an average of €479 each in Ireland this year

The equivalent of 469 million pints in Temple Bar overall.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SPENDING BY OVERSEAS tourists hit just over €3.5 billion in 2014.

The number of overseas visitors grew by 9% to 7.3 million, the highest number since 2008, with all of Ireland’s four top market areas recording growth.

That figure marks a 9% increase, or almost €300 million more, compared to 2013.

For comparison, that is 469,798,657 pints of beer in Temple Bar.

On top of that, Irish air and sea carriers earned a further €1 billion from tourists.

Domestic demand in the tourism sector also picked up, with an estimated 6% increase in spending to €1.5 billion, with a further €300 million earned from visitors from Northern Ireland.

There was an increase of 8% in holiday visitors, those coming to visit friends and relatives (VFR) grew by a much stronger 14%, while business visits were up 4% with United States, Germany, France, and Canada all returning record visitor numbers.

North America and other long haul markets generated over two thirds of the increase in earnings in 2014.

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The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) says that they expect an extra 400,000 in 2015, but says

“Tourism has amply demonstrated its resilience, having weathered several difficult years and has proven its ability as an important indigenous export sector to deliver growth”, according to ITIC Chairman Paul Carty.

“Tourism businesses currently are estimated to employ in excess of 200,000 people, with 5,000 having been added in the past year, and the prospect of a further 8,000 jobs being created in 2015.”

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