Visitor numbers increased by 6% from all of Ireland’s main markets in the first five months of the year – and by 8% between March and May. There was an increase of more than 12% in visitor numbers from North America, and a turn-around in the long-declining Britain market with growth increasing during the year.
“The Gathering is making a real difference to tourist numbers in 2013,” said Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar TD. “These are the best figures for the first five months since 2009. As the year progresses, each set of statistics shows that the Gathering is making a difference. Numbers from North America are as good as we have ever seen them, while France is leading the charge from Europe. The increase in visitor numbers from Britain is one of the most startling results, because British people are generally travelling much less.”
The figures show:
· At almost 2.5 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 6.4% in the first five months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. For the three-month period from March to May 2013, overseas trips to Ireland increased by 8.1% to 1.77 million trips
· North America registered an increase of 12.8% for January – May 2013 (369,100 visits) and of 12.6% in March – May 2013 (282,300)
· Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 8.5% for January to May 2013 to 917,300 visits, and by 9.6% between March and May (676,000 visits). In this three-month period, we witnessed particularly strong performances from France (+26.3%) and Benelux (+11.0%), followed by Germany (+6.1%), the Nordic countries (+6.0%) and Spain (+5.4%)
· Visits from Britain were up by 2.8% for January – May 2013 (1,069,900) and by an encouraging 5.6% for the three months from March to May 2013 (726,300 visits)
· Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, totalled 132,200 for the first five months of 2013 (+4.9%) and 87,000 for the three months from March to May alone (+3.2%) – within these markets, comparing March – May 2013 to the same three months in 2012, Australia and New Zealand grew by 12.1%.