Revealed: The top seven reasons tourists say they visit Ireland
Fáílte Ireland has published its annual Visitor Attitudes Survey, and the results bring a further boost for tourism.
The survey illustrates the most important drivers for Irish visits, the reasons why overseas holidaymakers choose to come here in the first place.
Reasons for Choosing Ireland:
- Friendly people: 96pc
- Beautiful Scenery: 96pc
- Safe and secure destination: 92pc
- Plenty to see and do: 92pc
- Good range of natural attractions: 90pc
- Interesting history and culture: 87pc
- Natural unspoilt environment: 86pc
The results are published as Ireland's biggest tourism trade fair, Meitheal 2016, brings buyers and businesses together at the RDS Dublin on April 11 and 12.
Ireland has enjoyed a "robust" opening to the year, Fáílte Ireland says, clocking one million visitors for the first time ever in January and February. Seat capacity on airlines flying into Ireland is also set to grow by 9pc this summer.
2015 was a record year for Irish tourism with 8.6 million visitors.
However, the National Tourism Development Authority warned against over-complacency and the potential for a weakening of sterling to undermine Ireland's recent competitiveness in the crucial British visitor market.
Of those visitors surveyed, 56pc said their trip to Ireland met their expectations, while 44pc said their holiday exceeded expectations.
Reasons for Exceeding Expectations:
- Irish People: 69pc
- Scenery: 65pc
- History & Culture: 37pc
- Nature & Wildlife: 29pc
- Weather better than expected: 28pc
- Good quality & variety of food: 27pc
Almost two thirds (64pc) of holidaymakers said that they would definitely return within the next few years – up from 57pc last year.
In terms of value for money, Ireland's satisfaction levels continue to improve - no doubt aided by the recent sterling and dollar exchange rates.
Value for money:
- Very Good: 18pc (2015) up from 14pc (2014)
- Good: 45pc (2015) up from 41pc (2014)
- Fair: 31pc (2015) down from 38pc (2014)
- Poor: 5pc (2015), same as 5pc (2015)
- Very pool: 0pc (2015) down from 1pc (2014)
Last year’s Meitheal resulted in over 2,650 new business contracts, Fáilte Ireland says, including almost 900 with international operators who had never programmed Ireland before. 20 countries are represented at this year's event.
The Visitor Attitudes Survey was conducted with almost 2,000 overseas holidaymakers to Ireland between June and October 2015.