According to the Central Statistics Office’s overseas travel bulletin, the number of trips into Ireland has increased over a three month period, showing a rise in flights to Ireland from North America while trips by British residents have continued to decline.
The three month report, which ended in February 2013, reveals that the number of trips into Ireland increased by just 2.6 percent, or 30,200, bringing the total number of inbound trips to 1,176,100.
North America is responsible for an entire 14,000 of the increase in visitor numbers and proved itself a key market for the The Gathering when its visitor numbers rose by almost 10 percent to 141,600 over the similar quarter a year earlier.
More than one million people from the US and Canada visited Ireland in 2012 – a 3% increase on the previous year. Executive Vice President of Tourism Ireland, US and Canada, Joe Byrne said, “The United States and Canada continue to be among the strongest international markets for tourism to the island of Ireland and we are delighted with the figures for 2012.”
He continued to say that “the tourism industry continues to come up with new ways to
delight visitors from North America,” and applauded The Gathering as “an unprecedented opportunity to shine a spotlight on Ireland in the US” making Ireland a “‘must visit’ destination, for both the Diaspora and non-Diaspora around the US.”
Tourism Ireland’s North American review and three year plan entitled “Make Ireland Jump Out” plans to increase Ireland’s tourism by a further 20 percent between 2013 and 2015. A significant increase in the number of airline seats between the US and Ireland will be part of this initiative, with the summer of 2013 seeing almost 25 percent more airline capacity on routes to Dublin Shannon and Belfast than in 2012.
The CSO also showed that trips to Ireland by residents of European countries other than Britain increased by 5.7 percent to 393,400, while trips to Ireland from other areas outside of Europe and North America increased by 15.3 percent to 77,700.