Latest figures show tourism’s role in economic recovery – Varadkar

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New CSO figures out today show very strong growth in revenue from overseas visitors last year and confirm that tourism is playing a significant role in Ireland’s economic recovery, according to Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar.

Spending in Ireland by overseas visitors – excluding fares – for 2013 rose by 11.9% compared with 2012. The data also shows that the number of trips in the key target market of holidaymakers rose by 8%, while spending by holidaymakers was up 11.5% for 2013 when compared with 2012. The figures are published in the CSO’s Tourism and Travel statistics.

“These figures show the enormous economic contribution made by overseas visitors, and confirm significant growth in revenues across all our main market areas. Tourism is not only playing an important role in our economic recovery but also in putting people in jobs, right across the country, and 2013 was a particularly important year. Total spending by overseas visitors in 2013, excluding fares, came to €3.3 billion. This comes on foot of figures released earlier this week showing visitor numbers continue to grow with an 11% increase in overseas visits for the December 2013 to February 2014 quarter,” Minister Varadkar said.

In terms of the spend associated with overseas visits, all of our main markets grew in 2013 compared to 2012:-

• Great Britain up by 3.5%;
• North America up by 10.8%;
• Mainland Europe up by 15.7%;
• Other long-haul markets up by 25.3%.

The figures are based on detailed surveys of overseas visitors and contain detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bednights.

Minister Ring said the figures confirm that the measures introduced by the Government have delivered: “The joint efforts of Government, the tourism agencies and the industry are clearly delivering in terms of supporting this vital source of employment and revenue. Of course we can never sit back and take the success for granted. That is why we are continuing to market strongly to potential holidaymakers across the world. I am confident that we can achieve further growth this year particularly in view of even more air access being available in 2014.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s figures from the CSO show a very welcome increase in overseas tourism earnings of +12% in 2013 – or an additional €345 million for the Irish economy. I am also pleased to see growth of +9% in holidaymakers – an additional 357,000 visitors. This growth has being driven by strong increases in visitor numbers from all of our market areas worldwide. In fact, we saw the best performances ever in 2013 from North America, Germany, France, Spain and from our long-haul markets – with Australia and New Zealand in particular driving that growth. And we have also seen very good growth in recent months from the British market. As we look to 2014, we have an extensive programme of promotions under way across the world, to keep the momentum going and build on the success of 2013. We are placing a major focus on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture and the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn added: “Today’s figures confirm that 2013 was a great year for tourism in terms of both visitors and revenue. Obviously, as the numbers visiting friends and relatives indicate, The Gathering played an important role in last year’s success. Although there may have been some concerns that numbers might contract this year after The Gathering, the earliest indications show that we are actually building further on last year’s impressive performance. That’s good news for business, local economies and jobs throughout the country.”