Success of The Gathering provides welcome boost to Tourism Industry – says Cllr Jones

20% increase in tourism figures since Govt came to power

Fine Gael Cllr Jones has welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office, which has reported an increase of overseas visitor numbers to Ireland up 5.4% for first half of this year, the year of The Gathering.

“These figures confirm what I have been hearing on the ground for some time. Overseas visitors, as well as Irish people, are rediscovering Ireland as a place to go on holiday. The Gathering has given the tourism industry a shot in the arm and we have seen an increase of more than 15% in visitors from North America. As Chairman of IPB Insurance I was delighted that we could contribute €1 million euro from our social fund to assist Gathering events throughout the country.

“The tourism industry is vital to Ireland’s economic recovery and the Government is working closely with tourism agencies to promote Ireland both at home and abroad. This Government has decreased the rate of VAT on hospitality services to encourage people to spend money and, in doing so, boost employment. Business people I have spoken to locally have been very clear that this measure has had a beneficial effect on local business. Other Government measures such as reducing employers’ PRSI and the visa waiver scheme are helping to restore sustainable growth to the tourism sector. This has seen a 20% increase in tourism figures since Govt came to power.

This week’s figures from the Central Statistics Office are particularly encouraging:

•At almost 3.145 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 5.4% in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012;
•Visits from mainland Europe grew by 7.9% for January to June 2013, to 1.149 million visits;
•North America registered an increase of 15.4% visits for January – June 2013 (519,600 visits);
•Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, totalled 178,900 for the first six months of 2013, representing an increase of 5.7%;

“The 15.4% increase in visitors from North America is particularly positive, especially given that these visitors tend to spend more than others during their stay.

“As a destination, Ireland offers spectacular beauty, world-class quality, genuine hospitality and increasingly good value. Perhaps now that we can boast continental summers we will attract even more visitors in the future!”