Tourist figures fall by 900,000 over past year
ALMOST 900,000 fewer visitors came to these shores over the past year as the recession had a devastating impact on the flagging tourism sector.
There was an overall drop of 12pc in the numbers of tourists to Ireland in the 12 months to November 2009, new Central Statistics Office figures reveal.
Overall, 881,200 fewer visitors arrived in the year to November, largely accounted for by a 19pc slump in British visitors.
The number of European visitors fell by 9pc, but the high-spending American market held up reasonably well with only a 2.6pc drop.
The number of visitors to Ireland in November fell by nearly 16pc to 421,200, while the number of Irish people travelling abroad fell by 8pc to 464,200.
In total 6.4m people visited Ireland in the first 11 months of 2009, down from 7.3m in the same period of 2008.
"The fact that these figures are released on the very day that Irish airports are shutting down due to an unwarranted air traffic controllers' strike highlights the major problems tourism faces," said Fine Gael Tourism spokesperson Olivia Mitchell.