Holiday visits to Ireland up 19% & spending up across all main markets – Varadkar

New CSO figures out today confirm very strong growth in the number of holidaymakers who travelled to Ireland in the first three months of 2013 – the year of the Gathering – as well as increased revenue from overseas visitors, according to Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar.

The detailed quarterly figures from the CSO show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) rose by 12% from 2012 to €541 million. The number of trips in the key target market of holidaymakers rose by 19%, while spending by holidaymakers was up 18% in the first three months of the year. The figures are published in the CSO’s Tourism and Travel statistics.

“Early indications suggest that The Gathering is working well and is having a real effect on people’s interest in coming to Ireland. This is backed up by the new figures. The important thing now is to keep up the good work across the tourism agencies, the industry and in local communities,” Minister Varadkar said.

These figures confirm a significant boost in terms of increased revenues across all our main market areas, including the challenging British market. This is supported by the strong growth in the number of holiday trips taken by overseas visitors to Ireland, and an increase in visits to friends and relatives.

The number of bednights – individual nights spent in any type of accommodation in Ireland – were up across all market areas in the first three months of the year. Comparing the first quarter of 2013 to the same period in 2012:
• bednights in rented houses and apartments were up 16.4%;
• guest house and B&B bednights were up 11.9%;
• and hotel bednights were up 7%.

The figures are based on detailed surveys of overseas visitors and contain detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bednights. They come on top of the overseas visitor numbers which are published monthly by the CSO.

Meanwhile, commenting on the CSO’s 2012 Household Travel Survey results for home holidays, which were also published today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring noted that although there was a small fall in overall domestic trips within Ireland, there were still over seven million domestic trips in 2012 which accounted for almost €1.35 billion in expenditure.

“Despite the economic difficulties, domestic travel is still a very important component of Irish tourism and I would encourage everybody to take full advantage of the many great events that will be on this summer as part of the Gathering celebrations,” Minister Ring said.