Number of visits to State up by 3.9%
Activity in the tourism sector increased in the three months to the end of November, with the number of overseas trips to the State rising by 3.9 per cent.
There were almost 1.6 million visits to Ireland between September and November of last year, some 60,400 more than in the corresponding period in 2011, the latest set of Overseas Travel statistics from the Central Statistics Office shows.
The improvement was driven by increased arrivals from the US, Europe (excluding Britain) and other areas, which were up by 19.7 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.
There were some 269,500 visits to the State from the US, 562,300 from Europe (excluding Britain) and 90,200 from other areas.
The number of visitors from Ireland’s largest tourism market, Britain, continues to decline. Trips from Britain fell in the three month period by some 21,100 (3 per cent) to 673,700. A similar sized decline was recorded in the same period a year earlier.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said "the pace of economic recovery and weak consumer confidence" Britain were having a significant impact on outbound travel.
"Tourism Ireland will roll out a brand new plan in 2013, developed in conjunction with industry partners – called GB Path to Growth – to return this,
our largest market, to sustained growth," he said. "The plan aims to grow the number of British holidaymakers by 20 per cent, an additional 200,000 holiday visitors, per year by 2016."
The overall number of trips to Ireland between January and November of last year was slightly lower (1,100) than in the same period a year earlier.
More than 6 million people visited the State in that time, with arrivals from the US, Europe (excluding Britain) and other areas all rising. However, trips from Britain were down by almost 100,000.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he was encouraged by growth in visitor numbers from Europe, North America and other long-haul routes and that he expected the end of 2012 figures to show an overall increase in visitor numbers for the year.
Irish residents also departed on more trips in the three month period between September and November, with the figure rising by 4 per cent to more than 1.5 million.
In the 11 months to November, residents of the State left on about 13,000 more trips than in the same period a year earlier, a rise of some 0.2 per cent to more than 5.9 million.