Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed the 0.7% rise in visitors to Ireland revealed today in the latest tourism figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The CSO confirmed that nearly three million (2,982,400) people visited Ireland during the first six months of the year, and that visitor numbers rose by 0.7% from April to June.
“These latest figures show that everyone’s efforts are paying off in the face of continuing economic uncertainty in most of our major overseas markets.
“We are working with Tourism Ireland to sell Ireland overseas as a visitor destination, and with Fáilte Ireland to continually strengthen our product. I remain confident that we will deliver growth during 2012 for this vital industry,” Minister Varadkar said.
The CSO reports that:
Visits from mainland Europe were up 3.8% for April-June at 0.67 million, and up 0.9% for the first half of 2012 at 1.06 million visits;
Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, totalled 0.17 million for the first half up 6.8%, and were up 11.9% to 104,000 for April-June;
Trips from North America were down 1.8% for the first half to 0.45 million but up 0.6% for the second quarter to 0.3 million;
However, visits from Great Britain were down 1.1% for January-June to 1.3 million and down 3.4% for the second quarter to 0.735 million.
“We are doing well at peak season from markets across Europe and strongly from developing markets, while holding our own in North America. Signs of growth at peak season confirm the signals from the tourism trade.
“The performance from Britain remains challenging, largely due to the depressed state of the British economy. However, Ireland continues to outperform competing destinations in terms of attracting visitors from Britain. We are also running a very effective €0.5 million promotional campaign to attract British people to Ireland during the Olympics.
“There are also encouraging signs from Europe. Our biggest European market, Germany, is up by 5.6% so far this year, and the marginal growth from France hides the fact that it rebounded by over 30% last year and arrivals are still over 195,600 this year, beating last year and nearing the 2009 record of 204,000. Italy grew by nearly 15% in the first half, while Spain was up slightly for the same period but up over 6% for the second quarter.
“I understand the industry-led Tourism Recovery Taskforce has been looking closely at what needs to be done to maintain our recovery of market share in Britain and I look forward to their proposals. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring and I will be using opportunities over the coming weeks here in London to promote our biggest ever tourism event, The Gathering Ireland 2013.”