Overseas visitors down by 1.1%

 

The number of trips to Ireland fell by 1.1 per cent in the three months to May to 1.64 million.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show there were 18,000 fewer trips to Ireland between March and May than in the same period in 2011.

The total number of trips to Ireland in the first five months of the year was 17,500 lower than in the same period last year at 2.34 million.

Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said the figures highlighted that overseas visitor numbers to Ireland are holding up in spite of the difficult global economic climate.

"Last year we saw growth in overseas visits to Ireland for the first time since 2007," he said. "While the figures have been on a par this year, I remain confident that we will see growth in the months ahead."

A sharp decrease was recorded in visitors from Britain between March and May with the number of arrivals down 5.7 per cent to 687,800.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons attributed the reduction to weak consumer confidence in Britain.

"Many GB residents are opting for ‘staycations’ and travel by Britons to all destinations in western Europe is down 3 per cent for the first four months of the year," he said.

There was a 1 per cent increase in the number of North Americans visiting the State to 250,800.

Visits from other European countries increased by 1.9 per cent to 616,800 while trips from visitors from the rest of the world were up by 12.3 per cent to 84,300.

The number of overseas trips made by Irish residents was down by 1.8 per cent year on year to 2.29 million, more than one million of which were to Britain.

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