Varadkar welcomes St Patrick’s Day figures showing significant ‘Gathering boost

At the launch of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival: Minister Varadkar and Acting Festival CEO Edelle Moss.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed Fáilte Ireland research showing that the Gathering significantly increased the number of overseas visitors for the St Patrick’s Day festival held in Dublin from March 14th-18th.

The Fáilte Ireland research showed that this increase ensured the event generated an estimated €121 million for the economy in 2013, compared to the €60 million generated by the same event in 2010 when the last such comprehensive survey was carried out.

The 2013 survey, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Fáilte Ireland, estimated that 140,000 adults from overseas attended the festival – an increase of 37% on the 103,000 overseas visitors in the comparable 2010 study.

Of these 140,000 foreign guests, one in four (26%) came from the US and almost one in three (29%) came from the other traditional markets of Britain, France and Germany. Significantly, 44% of visitors came from a range of 27 additional countries. This was a noticeable increase on the approximately 33% figure for the same group in 2010.

The research also calculated that visitors on average spent more in 2013 during their St Patrick’s stay in 2013 than in 2010. Excluding travel expenses, the average visitor spent €696 here in 2013 compared to €416 in 2010. This can be attributed to the fact that, this year, there were greater numbers arriving from higher-spending markets and larger numbers staying in paying accommodation. These overseas visitors generated revenue of €109 million ensuring that the event generated overall €122 million – a doubling of the figure (€60 million) in 2010.

Minister Varadkar said: “These figures suggest that the Gathering has got off to a strong start. This year’s extended St Patrick’s Day Festival was one of the key events for the Gathering, and the 40% increase in overseas visitors is particularly encouraging. Given that the New Year’s Eve Festival also showed a marked increase in overseas visitors, the signs are that the Gathering is going well.”

The Fáilte Ireland survey found that approximately 18% of the 140,000 overseas visitors who attended this year’s St Patrick’s Festival were influenced to do so by ‘The Gathering’.

Also commenting on the figures, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised:

“In terms of sustaining jobs and increasing tourism revenue, overseas visitors are the only game in town and it is quite clear that, this year, St Patrick’s Day delivered in this regard. With the Gathering accounting for seven out of every ten extra visitors, it is also evident that this initiative is making its mark and looks set to achieve everything we hoped it would.”