Commenting on the CSO figures issued today for final overseas numbers to Ireland in 2011, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO provide our first insight into reasons for travel to Ireland in 2011. The +11% increase in holiday visitors is very encouraging, particularly as the increases occur across all market areas.
“2012 performance to date has been mixed. However, anecdotal reports suggest further increases in holiday visitors, with Europe and new and developing markets performing more strongly. Hotel occupancy is up on 2011, although the spread is uneven, with urban areas, particularly Dublin, faring better.
“Tourism Ireland is rolling out its autumn campaign, targeting millions of potential holidaymakers for city breaks and rural holidays with enticing messages about upcoming festivals, our world-class food and the wealth of things to see and do here. Although growth in visitor numbers will depend to a large extent on improved economic conditions and consumer confidence in our source markets – and in particular in GB – we know that late booking patterns still prevail. This means that in many of our markets, there is still everything to play for into the autumn and for the remainder of the year. We will be pulling out all the stops.”
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.