The next time your cousins in Kerry tell you that they’ve never seen so many Yanks around town, they’re not exaggerating. Thanks to the success of The Gathering, the number of American tourists in Ireland has increased by 20.5 percent – something Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons calls “a record performance for that market.”
Figures released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the three month period of May through July reveal that the number of North American visitors to Ireland was 418,700, an increase of 20.5 percent over the same period in 2012. Overall, trips to Ireland were up 7.6 percent, to 2,084,600, with residents of Britain slightly edging out the residents of other European countries, with tourism numbers of 770,800 to 760,400 respectively.
Gibbons is pleased with the increase in visitors to Ireland. He told Irish Director Magazine that he believes that the number of American visitors will reach one million in 2013, and that they will spend about $1 billion.
“Tourism Ireland believes that we are on course to achieve our best year ever from the United States – even surpassing the previous best year of 2007,” he said.
Failte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn credits The Gathering with providing a “jump-start” to tourism.
“Our North American and European markets are bouncing back,” he told the website.
“The increase in American visitors is particularly welcome as they stay longer and spend more – which is good for the tourism sector, local businesses and the national economy.”