IT has emerged this week that Bord Failte appear to have cherrypicked reports and figures which overemphasise the number of foreign tourists visiting Ireland in recent years.
The true scale of the problem in tourism has been illustrated by a Bord Failte commissioned report, which the agency did not release. Bord Failte traditionally release visitor number figures based on data from the Central Statistics Office. The latest batch of these figures released by the agency showed that the number of foreign visitors coming to Ireland in 2011 dropped by 12 per cent.
These figures, however, don't paint a true picture of visitor numbers as they fail to differentiate between genuine tourists or, for example, business travellers and Irish living abroad who are visiting home.
Following concerns about falling visitors numbers in Dublin Bord Failte commissioned management consultants Grant Thornton to examine issues surrounding tourism in the capital. Grant Thornton subsequently provided a report to Bord Failte - which the state agency declined to release despite a number of requests - that was this week published on the website of the non state, business lobby group the Dublin City Business Association.
In this report Grant Thornton say that the number of bone fide tourist visitors that arrived in Ireland in 2011 fell by 25 per cent compared with the previous year, more than twice the figure that was actually publicised by Bord Failte.