A pub in Beara Peninsula, Co. CorkTourism Ireland

Ireland's economy might be in the doldrums but tourists still love to go there.

A whopping 98 percent of travelers polled by the Irish tourist board Failte Ireland in 2008 said they would recommend Ireland to a friend, according to a new survey.

Personal recommendation is a hugely important factor for Ireland as one in two visitors said this influenced their choice.

North Americans were the most impressed with the Irish countryside with 94 per cent singling this out as one of the most appealing aspects of an Irish vacation.

The head of the Irish tourist board, Shaun Quinn, said the survey showed that Ireland's people and countryside scored the highest with tourists.

“For some, the ‘céad míle fáilte’ (“Gaelic for ‘one hundred thousands welcomes’) may seem like a worn cliché, but this survey underlines quite clearly that, when it comes to tourism, our people remain one of our greatest resources,” Quinn said.

However, tourists also complained about how expensive Ireland can be and British and North American holidaymakers were hit twice as hard with the poor exchange rates.

But, while Ireland might be high in costs, it's also high in friendliness.

A TripAdvisor.com survey of European cities ranked Dublin as being the “Friendliest” and having the “Most Helpful Locals.” (Paris was voted the least friendly.)

Meanwhile, figures released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office last week show that Irish people are tending to vacation more in Ireland at present, with domestic vacations up 7.5 percent last year.

Vacations abroad for Irish people, however, are down 9 percent.