Commenting on the CSO figures issued today for overseas visitors to Ireland for the three-month period February to April 2012, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Visitor numbers to Ireland for the period February-April 2012 remain unchanged compared to the same period in 2011. The global economic landscape has certainly presented a challenging environment for travel and tourism but our tourism industry and travel trade partners are generally quite positive about quarters two and three – with reports of enquiries and advance bookings being well up on this time last year. We welcome in particular today’s positive figures from Germany (+4.3%), Italy (+12.5%), Benelux (+5.7%) and Australia and developing markets (+14.5%).
“Our extensive, first-half marketing campaign is in full swing across the world and we are working closely with our tourism partners to deliver growth in 2012. The recent drop in value of the euro against both sterling and the US dollar means that – combined with the better value now available on the ground in Ireland – the cost of a holiday here is more attractive for British and American visitors than it has been for some time. In addition, some high profile events over the coming months – like the Eucharistic Congress, the final of the Volvo Ocean Race and the Notre Dame vs Navy game at the Aviva Stadium – promise to deliver many thousands of international visitors over the coming months.
“Other positive news for tourism is that the number of airline seats to Ireland is scheduled to grow by +3% for the forthcoming summer season, with capacity from the important European markets of France and Germany up +7%.”
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 almost 4% of GNP and providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout the island.