Varadkar believes new air, sea services boost visitor numbers
Minister has set a target for 4 per cent growth in the number of visitors to Ireland
Leo Varadkar: “Access to Ireland by air and sea will be crucial to meeting the 2014 targets. Capacity continues to grow, with 23 new air routes into Ireland announced since the budget.”
Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar believes new air and sea services into Ireland and big international sporting events should boost visitor numbers and tourism revenue this year.
As the Government pushes to capitalise on momentum created by the Gathering, the Minister has set a target of 4 per cent growth in the number of visitors to Ireland and 8 per cent growth in revenue from tourism.
Official figures suggest the number of overseas visitors rose 7.1 per cent to 6.49 million in the first 11 months of 2013 while the associated revenue was up 13.3 per cent, excluding fares.
Transatlantic air capacity
“Access to Ireland by air and sea will be crucial to meeting the 2014 targets. Capacity continues to grow, with 23 new air routes into Ireland announced since the budget. Transatlantic air capacity in the summer period is now up at least 25 per cent,” Mr Varadkar said.
“In 2014 the Aer Lingus flight from San Francisco will resume, along with routes from Toronto, mainland Europe and Britain. Irish Ferries is starting sailings from Holyhead and Cherbourg, LD Lines from France and Spain, and Ryanair is expanding routes from mainland Europe and Britain. Other new air routes like Westjet’s flight from Newfoundland in Canada will start this year,” the Minister added.
Tourism Ireland will promote these routes in North America and Europe.
There will also be a strong focus on the promotion of the opening stage in Ireland of the Giro d’Italia cycle race and on the “Croke Park Classic” American football game, at which the University of Central Florida will play Penn State.
A further initiative is the development of the Wild Atlantic Way touring route from Donegal to West Cork, in which the Government is investing €8 million. This is the subject of TV and cinema advertising campaigns in the US, France and Germany.