Commenting on the CSO figures issued today for overseas visitor numbers to Ireland for the period January-November 2011, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said:“Today’s figures show that visitor numbers for the period January-November 2011 are almost +7% ahead of the same eleven-month period in 2010. However, the economic turmoil of recent months has brought increased uncertainty, affecting business and consumer confidence, and in turn, international travel.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “As we look to the year ahead, we are very much aware that the economic landscape presents a challenging environment for travel. However, Tourism Ireland will be striving to ensure that the island of Ireland increases its share of the global travel business in 2012 and beyond. It is important to remember that people around the world still want to take holidays. The trend is that people are continuing to travel but taking shorter trips, staying closer to home and being careful with their money, as value for money remains an important consideration when making holiday plans.
“We also have a lot going for us this year, with major events like the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 taking place in Galway and the annual Notre Dame-Navy American football game coming to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. In the second half of the year, Tourism Ireland will promote The Gathering 2013 to the 70 million people across the world who feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland.”
Overseas tourism has a critical role to play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% (approximately €3.4 billion) of all tourism revenue and has the capacity to deliver even more for Ireland as part of an export-led economic renewal. Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, contributing in excess of 4% of GNP and providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout the island.