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Tourists numbers up by 500,000, but they're all spending a lot less

An extra 500,000 foreign tourists came to Ireland last year than in 2010, but they are spending less money than they used to.

Although the big American football clash in Dublin almost two weeks ago proved a €100m spending boost, new figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal a dramatic slide in tourism takings.

They show that tourists spent a massive €350m less than in 2009.

However, the CSO figures show visitors spent 0.7pc more last year than in 2010, rising from €3.56bn to €3.58bn. But the actual spend per tourist fell, with each visitor spending €40 less.

This is because tourists are taking shorter breaks and availing of better value in hotels, said Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons.

"Everyone is looking for value and if we hadn't succeeded in growing the numbers coming, things would be much worse," he said.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said there had been an 11pc growth in holiday trips, while business trips were up 8pc and visits to family and friends were up 0.4pc.

The CSO figures show visitors spent 50.9 million "bednights" in Ireland with hotels enjoying a hefty 1.5 million increase -- 13pc higher than the previous year.

The B&B sector also enjoyed a 226,000 increase in overnights to 4.2 million.

forget the spin, we're in real trouble

Irish Independent