Hotel bookings from overseas visitors up 14pc, says Failte Ireland
THE hotel sector experienced a jump in demand in the first half of the year.
Failte Ireland said preliminary figures show bookings from overseas visitors were up 14pc between January and July, with the bulk coming from the US.
The amount of British holidaymakers continued to fall, with Failte Ireland blaming the weak UK economy for the drop-off.
The latest data comes just days after the Central Statistics Office (CSO) stated the number of visitors during the summer months fell by 44,000 compared to the same period last year.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar praised the hotel sector for boosting competitiveness and giving greater value for money.
"These preliminary figures from Failte Ireland showing a rise in overseas bednights suggest that the hard work from the hotels sector is paying off," he said.
The Failte Ireland data from 220 hotels across the country shows visitors from North America increased by 29pc and Europe was up 15pc, but Britain declined by 3pc.
The CSO last week revealed that the British accounted for the biggest fall in visitors over the summer months, with numbers falling 6pc to 839,800.
Failte Ireland insisted that the hotel market was doing well in urban areas.
"Dublin in particular has had a good year, as had other metropolitan areas," a Failte Ireland spokesman said.
"But obviously we'd like to see an improvement on British figures and that's what we're working on."
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said the figures appear to show that a higher percentage of visitors are staying in hotels.
"It's always welcome to see an increase like that," chief executive Tim Fenn said.
"From our own barometer we have preliminary indications that Dublin has had a very good year, also large population centres like Cork, Kilkenny, Killarney and Westport. But it's generally quite a challenged environment in the rest of the country," he added.
Leo Varadkar: praise for hotel sector