Rise in visitor numbers to Ireland
The number of visitors to Ireland increased by 0.7 per cent from April to June, second quarter travel figures released today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have shown.
The number of trips to the State increased by 12,300 to 1,817,300 compared to the same period last year, the CSO said.
The overall visitor numbers were up despite a 3.4 per cent fall in trips by British residents to 735,200.
However visitors from other European countries increased by 3.8 per cent (to 672,400), north American visitors increases by 0.6 per cent (to 305,700) and from other areas by 11.9 per cent (to 104,000).
Despite the record rainfall levels in June the number of trips by Irish residents abroad had decreased by 1.5 per cent (or 25,500) in the April to June period.
For the first six month of 2012 visitors to Ireland have remained static compared to the same period last year, with the largest nominal and percentage increases coming from visitors outside of Europe and north America (up by 11,100 or 11.9 per cent).
The flat figures for the first six months reflected the “global economic conditions, and in particular the ongoing problems within the Eurozone” which continued to “present a challenging environment for travel to Ireland,” Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland said today.
There were some “encouraging indicators” such as the second quarter growth and increased in visitors from Germany (5.6 per cent), Italy (14.7 per cent), the Nordic region (almost 6 per cent) and Benelux countries (6.3 per cent) for the first six months of the year.
Positive figures from Australia and New Zealand ( up 9 per cent) and from emerging markets such as China and India (up 5.5 per cent) were “thanks in part to the improved ease of access” as well as the visa waiver scheme, he said.
The British market was “proving difficult” with a fall of 1 per cent in the first six months of 2012.
However Tourism Ireland’s Escape the Madness campaign encouraging Londoners to visit Ireland during the Olympics had over 180,000 hits on YouTube, he said.
Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said performance from Britain "remains challenging, largely due to the depressed state of the British economy".
Ireland was outperforming " competing destinations in terms of attracting visitors from Britain" , he said.
He would be using opportunities over the coming weeks in London "to promote our biggest ever tourism event, The Gathering Ireland 2013," he said.
Overall the latest figures showed "that everyone’s efforts are paying off in the face of continuing economic uncertainty in most of our major overseas markets".