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New Tourism Minister Welcomes Growth in Visitor Numbers

Published on Jul 28 2014 10:48 AM in General Industry

New Tourism Minister Welcomes Growth in Visitor Numbers

The Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe (pictured), has welcomed the continued growth in overseas visitor numbers for the first six months of 2014, which were released today by the Central Statistics Office.

Speaking following the release of the figures, Donohoe said that the figures "show that Irish tourism is having, yet again, another excellent year. Last year was the year of the Gathering and the challenge was to grow visitor numbers even further in 2014. Today’s figures show that overseas visitor numbers are up an encouraging 10.3 per cent compared to the first six months of 2013. Trips to Ireland increased by 12.3 per cent in Q2 from April to June 2014. This is excellent news for everybody involved in Irish tourism and reflects the hard work carried out by Government and all those involved in the tourism industry and in promoting Ireland overseas." The latest CSO figures on overseas travel show:· At over 3,469,100 visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 10.3 per cent in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.· Visits from mainland Europe grew by 6 per cent for January to June 2014, to over 1,218,100 visits;· North America registered an increase of 10.6 per cent for January to June 2014, with 574,500 visits;· Visits from Great Britain were up by 13.6 per cent for January to June 2014, with 1,473,200 visits;· Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, were up by 13.6 per cent, totalling over 203,300 visits. Donohoe said, "The strong performance shows that the measures introduced by this Government have worked. In my new role, I look forward to working with the industry and the tourism agencies to ensure that this growth continues for the remainder of 2014 and beyond. In this regard, I will be finalising a new Tourism Policy Statement later this year which will set ambitious targets for the tourism sector in the period to 2025 and outline a range of policy priorities to achieve these targets." Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring added, “We are not resting on our laurels and August alone will include lots for our visitors to see and do, including this week’s Galway Races, followed by the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show and the Croke Park Classic at the end of the month.” Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, "We are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. We are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world throughout 2014." Noting today’s figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn, said Ireland seems "set for our best tourism season since the downturn began. However, the key challenge to tourism growth over the next few years or so will be complacency and we need to work hard to maintain that balance of good value and quality which the sector has achieved in recent years."

He added, "Fáilte Ireland will be using every opportunity we can identify to maximise tourism growth and to ensure the sector delivers the additional revenue and jobs which this country needs."

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