Tourist numbers up 6pc as value for money increases
Failte Ireland yesterday published a cautiously upbeat assessment of tourist prospects for the coming year, noting that the last 12 months had brought a long-awaited improvement with visitor numbers up 6pc and most tourists reporting better value countrywide.
The tourist body said total visitor numbers were up 6pc last year to 6.2m, and spending by overseas and domestic tourists was also up slightly to €4.7m.
The biggest growth came from continental Europe with an 8pc increase, while American visitors were up 5pc and British tourist numbers rose by 3pc, though there were still a million fewer of them than in 2007.
Dublin saw the biggest increase -- 8pc -- fuelled by rising business visits, while the western seaboard rose by 6pc and the eastern region was up 4pc.
One of the most positive signs is that more than three-quarters of tourists said they were getting good, or very good, value on their holiday here.
It is the best value-for- money ratings in 10 years, Failte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said.
"The sluggishness which crept in during the boom is now gone and the tourism industry has proven to be innovative, flexible and hungry to win new business... This bodes well for revenue and jobs down the line," he said.
They were targeting steady growth of 2pc to 5pc from Britain -- which they hoped would include Londoners trying to escape the Olympics, along with an up to 7pc increase in continental European and American visitors.
Failte Ireland, which promotes and develops tourism in Ireland, will get €93m in government funding this year.