Monday 5 December 2016

The most successful St Patrick's Day ever in terms of numbers of overseas visitors coming to Ireland

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

A couple sit and watch the ocean crash into the sea cliffs at Slieve League in Co Donegal, on the northern part of the Wild Atlantic Way
A couple sit and watch the ocean crash into the sea cliffs at Slieve League in Co Donegal, on the northern part of the Wild Atlantic Way

More overseas visitors came to Ireland for this year's St Patrick's Day festival than any year before, tourism organisations believe.

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Ireland welcomed about 650,000 overseas visitors in March 2015. Around 112,000 arrived for the festival, injecting €73m into the Irish economy.

Though official figures for the St Patrick's Day festival 2016 are still being finalised, several organisations told the Sunday Independent they expect this year's results to be even stronger, resulting in Ireland's most successful St Patrick's Day ever for the tourism sector.

Commemoration events for the centenary of the Easter Rising are expected to entice tourists to extend their visits this year, as well as drive domestic tourism.

Outside of Irish borders, Ireland's "global greening" project also enjoyed its most successful year ever.

The Empire State Building, Great Wall of China and Las Vegas' welcome sign were among some 190 global landmarks going green this year, lit up in Ireland's national colour to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

New participants included 7 World Trade Center in New York, the Big Wheel in Paris, the light rail system in Addis Ababa and City Hall in Tel Aviv.

It happened at a time "when many people are planning their holidays, giving Ireland an unparalleled platform to encourage people to pay us a visit," according to Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

As of March 17, Tourism Ireland estimated the cost of the 2016 initiative at "just under €29,000".

The organisation said the project and other St Patrick's Day activities generated international publicity worth around €10m, with saturation coverage across print, broadcast and social media.

It all bodes well for overall tourist numbers and spending in 2016, which are expected to exceed 2015 - itself a record year.

Sunday Indo Business

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