Prime Minister Enda Kenny has warned Irish businesses not to "rip off" tourists who travel to Ireland next year, as part of Tourism Ireland’s The Gathering initiative.

The Gathering
is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative which hopes to attract some 325,000 tourists to Ireland in 2013.

Speaking on Thursday, the Fine Gael leader said it would be wrong if businesses took a "give us your money" approach to those visiting the Emerald Isle.

Kenny said it is important that when people visit Ireland, it is crucial they have an enjoyable experience and do not feel ripped off.

“People want to come, people will come, but you have to show them what it is they’re coming for, and that there’s a reason to come.

“And it’s not just about setting out targets for numbers to arrive here — 200,000, 300,000, 500,000, or whatever.

“It’s the other end of that equation — that when they come, they must be made feel important as VIPs and that they get a quality experience here and that there’s not a rip-off or there’s not an attempt to say, ‘Well, just because the Gathering is in place, you’re welcome to our shores, give us your money’.

“This is not just a short-term operation — this is setting down a standard that will repeat itself over the years.”

Kenny was speaking at the at the launch of a $2.6 million (€2 million) fund which will support local authorities and community-based events as part of the tourism initiative.