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Tourist chiefs aim to build on Gathering

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Scenic Appeal: The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. Photo: Shannon Development/PA

Scenic Appeal: The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. Photo: Shannon Development/PA

Scenic Appeal: The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. Photo: Shannon Development/PA

EFFORTS are under way to ensure the increase in tourism that came with The Gathering is continued into 2014.

Hotel and guesthouse bookings enjoyed an increase in trade last year due to the tourist initiative with visitor hot spots around Ireland such as the Cliffs of Moher, Giant's Causeway and Blarney Castle seeing a boost in trade.

While small, the 1pc increase within the hospitality sector in 2013 is another sign of growth within the industry, with 23,000 jobs created since 2011.

Atlantic

Plans for a new initiative called the Wild Atlantic Way have been put in motion.

The aim of the scheme is to promote a long distance touring route from the north of Donegal to the west of Cork.

A total of 6.99m tourists visited Ireland in 2013, which is over 7pc more than in 2012.

Out of these 1.16m were tourists from North America and 2.46m tourists from mainland Europe.

"The increase is no doubt thanks to The Gathering," chief executive of the Irish Hotels Federation Tim Fenn told the Herald.

"We have to ensure this year the success we had last year continues by making new and innovative ways to attract in tourists. We have to make Ireland the number one spot on people's bucket list for places to visit," he said.

Speaking on the new scheme developed by Fáilte Ireland and county councils Mr Fenn added: "The west of Ireland is stunningly beautiful. Most tourists who visit will stay and visit the capital and other areas, injecting money into the country."

Figures from the IHF show the tourism industry as a whole now supports almost 200,000 jobs – equivalent to 11pc of total employment in the country. The IHF says the British market still remains a problem with figures down by over one million since 2007, despite a slight increase in British tourists this year.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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