Tourists to splash out €50m over St Patrick's weekend
ST Patrick's weekend is set to deliver a €50m tourism bonanza.
Dublin will reap the bulk of the business, with many hotels already booked out for the weekend and a 6pc increase in passengers using Dublin Airport this weekend.
Booking website Hotels.com listed 207 out of 232 hotels in the Dublin region as unavailable this weekend while those remaining are charging a minimum of €300 per room for the weekend.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce said 120,000 overseas visitors would spend over €50m during the festival. Chief executive Gina Quin said this could be the biggest St Patrick's Festival for Dublin due to an expected increase for The Gathering.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said that while bookings were strong around the country, they were concentrated in Dublin, with Limerick, Galway and Killarney also faring well.
"St Patrick's always marks the start of the season and, being a long weekend, it's popular for domestic trips. But for overseas visitors, the big numbers are concentrated in Dublin," said IHF president Michael Vaughan.
Some 225,000 passengers are expected to use Dublin Airport this weekend.
Meanwhile, in a special St Patrick's Day message, President Michael D Higgins has said that Irish people can overcome challenges in the same way the patron saint did.
"Like St Patrick, we are living through our own troubling and testing times. We too have been called on to show resilience, fortitude and the wisdom to move beyond destructive cynicism and recrimination."
Meanwhile, Failte Ireland is hosting over 70 overseas broadcasters and writers for a "fact-finding tour".
This includes a reception with Mr Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, taking part in the parade in Dublin and a preview of the newly commissioned 'Riverdance Gathering'.