herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Rising events help to pull in record visitor numbers here

The 1916 Rising centenary events coupled with an extensive St Patrick’s Festival helped draw 702,700 foreign visitors here in March. Photo: Cpl Colum Lawlor
The 1916 Rising centenary events coupled with an extensive St Patrick’s Festival helped draw 702,700 foreign visitors here in March. Photo: Cpl Colum Lawlor

The Easter Rising Centenary and the St Patrick's Festival helped draw a record number of tourists, according to the latest figures from the CSO.

Last month was the best March ever for the number of foreign visitors, according to Tourism Ireland.

The 1916 Rising centenary events coupled with an extensive St Patrick's Festival helped draw 702,700 foreign visitors here in March.

The number of visitors between January and the end of March also grew by a record 16.6pc over last year to 1,785,300 trips.

The biggest increase was among visitors from North America, whose numbers swelled by almost 25pc to 238,100 trips taken, according to the latest CSO travel statistics.

Failte Ireland CEO Sean Quinn said the figures bode extremely well for the upcoming peak tourist season.

"Today's figures signal a continued strong performance by the tourism sector, reflecting a very successful St Patrick's Festival and an earlier Easter," he said.

"These trends, along with current confidence levels within the sector, indicate a strong summer season ahead - but we must keep competitive and avoid complacency to maintain current growth rates."

The strength of the American dollar and the British pound, as well as more direct flights into Dublin, helped boost visitor numbers.

This, together with the historic Rising events and St Patrick's festivities, created a positive "perfect storm" to lure record numbers here, Tourism Ireland spokeswoman Sinead Grace said.

Hook

"There's a whole range of reasons why, but the 1916 celebrations were an amazing hook for visitors - and the legacy of the 1916 centenary events, like the GPO exhibition and the Epic Ireland Diaspora Centre opening this weekend, will continue to be a hook," she told the Herald.

Meanwhile, the number of visitors from the UK and the rest of Europe continued to grow, with an increase of 17.3pc by UK visitors and 14.1pc by European tourists.

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