Survey shows tourists happy with Ireland and would return
MORE than three-quarters of visitors to Ireland said they would return, with the vast majority believing that our hotels offered value.
The new survey of inbound tourists sought out their impressions of the country and why they visited.
Tucking into pots of warm stew and enjoying pints of Guinness and thimbles of whiskey were ranked as some of the best 'Irish experiences' by thousands of tourists who flocked here during the summer.
The Irish language and Irish coffees completed the list of the best traditional experiences in Ireland, according to just over 5,000 tourists who were surveyed about their summer holidays here this year.
While almost one-third said they enjoyed a pint of the black stuff, visiting natural beauty spots was the most popular excursion for holidaymakers as just under a quarter said they took in some of the idyllic scenes around the countryside.
One-fifth said they visited an area of historical significance, while a further 17pc said they listened to traditional Irish music, according to the Europcar Tourism Index.
The 'Wild Atlantic Way', which stretches across 2,500km along the western coast of Ireland, was one of the most popular destinations as more than half of the tourists surveyed who visited during May and September admitted to driving at least one section of it.
The vast majority - 95pc - said they enjoyed their experience along the route and the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare were the most popular stop-off point .
Skellig Michael, which features in the new blockbuster film 'Star Wars', also ranked in the top destinations along the popular driving route.
Dublin, which is home to almost 800 pubs, offered the best nightlife experience, while counties Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny and Clare followed suit, according to the holidaymakers surveyed.
More than half had previously visited Ireland, while 77pc said they would come again.
One-fifth said they visited Ireland because of their heritage and roots, almost one-quarter said the landscape attracted them, while 10pc said it was the people and culture.
A quarter of the tourists were from Britain, the US ranked second at 15pc, while Australia and Germany followed closely behind at 6pc and 5pc.
Failte Ireland, Ireland's tourism body, welcomed the data and said that it found the news that 95pc of hotel customers reported finding fair to excellent value for money as particularly encouraging.
"This strong level of competitiveness in the tourism sector is also echoed in our own research and is a central component to sustained growth into the future. The trick is now to avoid complacency," Alex Connolly, Failte Ireland's head of communications, said.
He added: "The amazing reception to our Wild Atlantic Way initiative is particularly welcome and it is clear from the data that its impact is only just starting to be felt."
Colm Brady, business development director of Europcar Ireland, believes the results of their survey offers "a real insight as to what tourists are doing when they visit our shores".
"CSO figures for this year show that visitor numbers increased significantly from 2014. This increase in visitor numbers correlates with our own figures at Europcar Ireland as we too are seeing an increase in the number of tourists using our service with over 400,000 tourists renting from Europcar this year," he added.