Irish Tourism Set For 'Record Year'
Ireland is set to have its best ever year in tourism if the current trend of growth stays on course.
According to CSO figures released this week, overseas visitor numbers grew by 12.1 per cent in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period in 2014.
In 2007, Ireland's busiest year for tourism, some 7.7 million visitors arrived in Ireland. So far in 2015, a record three million people have visited the country.
"If this trend continues we will be looking at a record year for overseas visitor numbers," said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.
Shaun Quinn, chief executive for Fáilte Ireland, echoed the Minister's comments, saying: "These are very strong figures for the tourism sector and confirm what the industry has been saying to us over the last few months; business is very good and we may be looking at a record year for overseas visitors in 2015."
The CSO figures showed that visitors from Mainland Europe took the biggest increase, up 14 per cent from last year. North American tourists were not far behind with a 13.6 per cent increase. Great Britain, Ireland's biggest market, took a 10.1 per cent jump to 1.33 million visitors.
The main reasons stated for the marked increase include the general improvement of the economy, the weakening of the euro against the pound and dollar, the low VAT rate for the hospitality sector as well as the success of tourism campaigns such as the Wild Atlantic Way.