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€8.5m tourism boost

THE Irish tourism sector has been given a €8.5m boost from the Government to attract inward visitors to the country.

The fund provided by Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar will go towards marketing campaigns in the UK, the US, Europe and new markets. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said that the amount of available airline seats has plummeted over the past three years since the onset of the recession.

"In the summer of 2008 there were 500,000 airline seats per week available for potential visitors flying to the island of Ireland," he said. "By summer 2011, as a result of the global downturn and its effects on the aviation industry, this number had fallen to 424,000 seats per week.