Failte Ireland, Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority, has said that The Gathering is already benefiting the Irish economy.

St. Patrick’s Day received a boost from the influx of tourists. Failte Ireland reported that the tourist sector has been its best at St. Patrick’s Day in years and around 8,000 tourists led the People’s Parade, which was a Gathering event.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors braved the wet weather to watch Dublin’s largest parade to honour the island’s patron saint. Twelve bands, including the Fire Department of the City of New York traveled from America to participate in the Dublin parade. 40 members of the French Navy, Ireland’s Garda band and the National Ambulance Service pipe and drum band also participated in the parade.

The parade also featured floats, dancers, acrobats and performance artists.

Shaun Quinn, Failte Ireland chief executive told, “This St. Patrick’s Day bounce bodes well for our expectations for The Gathering this year and hopefully will be the start of a pattern this season.” He said, “With an enhanced St. Patrick’s festival, this was our biggest March tourism push to date and the performance of the hotels in the city really confirms that events do drive business in Dublin.”

Most of Dublin’s hotels were fully booked and are reported booked between March 18 and March 22. Many of Dublin’s hotels reported a 10% increase in business. Around 120,000 people flew into to Dublin before the parade and Failte Ireland has said that it has seen a large number of tourists from the United States.

Alex Connolly, head of communications at Failte Ireland told, “The Gathering has been out there for the last number of months as a big hook for visitors to come over. We would be working very hard to get more and more people in this year for The Gathering, and that’s what’s happened.” He added, “This if the official start of the tourist season.”

During the year of The Gathering, Ireland invites all those in the Irish diaspora and Irish in spirit to visit Ireland. There are festivals and events planned throughout Ireland.