Weak sterling to blame as 6.5pc fewer British people visit here
Fewer British people are travelling to Ireland due to a weak pound as Brexit has begun to take its toll on Irish tourism.
The number of people travelling here from the UK has dropped by 6.5pc compared with the first three months of last year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
This was the first decrease in the same period since 2010.
Tourism Minister Shane Ross said the Government would "meet the challenge".
Leading figures in the industry say the sterling's drop in value has made Ireland a more expensive place for UK natives to travel.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said British tourists were becoming more cautious with their spending, while the CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Paul Kelly, described the trend as "concerning", with Britain becoming a more thrifty holiday destination for potential visitors.
However, overall there was an increase of 0.6pc in the number of people visiting Ireland, with the largest rise coming from North America at 23.2pc.
Visits from mainland Europe decreased by 0.6pc, despite increases of 9.8pc from France and 4.5pc from Spain.
Almost two million people visited Ireland in the first quarter of 2017, and according to the CSO almost half of visitors to Ireland were British.