Tourism poised for its best season in six years
IRELAND'S tourism industry is gearing up for one of the best years since the start of the recession, with the creation of up to 10,000 jobs.
Hotels are especially optimistic because last year was one of the best since the boom, according to Failte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn.
The Irish Hotels Federation, (IHF) representing 935 hotels and 250 guesthouses, is also expecting a banner year with the potential to create some 10,000 jobs in an industry which currently employs more than 137,000 workers.
Tourism generated €5.7bn for the economy last year -- including €170m from The Gathering tourism initiative -- according to Mr Quinn.
Overseas visitor numbers grew by 7pc last year and 70pc of tourism operators believe 2014 will be just as strong if not stronger than 2013, he said.
"The industry is the most optimistic it has been in the past few years. We certainly went through the wars, but there is a very strong mood in the trade now," he said.
Tim Fenn, chief executive of the IHF, said almost 85pc of members are reporting a positive outlook for 2014.
"For every €1m spent in tourism, it sustains 34 jobs," he told the Irish Independent.
"There's been a great improvement in the number of overseas visitors and we've gained significant market share from North America."
Even guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are on the rebound, Mr Quinn added.