U.S. visitors to Ireland are finally on the rise after a long period where the numbers were on a downslide.

Figures for June of this year showed an increase of American visitors to Ireland over the same month in 2009. The number of visitors cracked the 120,00 mark reaching 123,600, an increase of over 3,000.

The  figures from Britain dropped by three per cent in the same period, also showing a leveling of the dramatic 30 percent drop from 2008 to 2009.

Tourism minister, Mary Hanafin, stated that “things are turning around for the tourism sector," pointing especially to the improved American numbers.

“Visitors from these markets are particularly important as they tend to book well in advance, stay longer and spend more than visitors from nearer markets who are on shorter breaks,” Hanafin said.

The increased value of the dollar and the drop off in the cost of living in Ireland because of the recession may also have contributed to the better Americans numbers.

A total of 600,300 people visited Ireland in June, figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

Some 2.6 million tourists have come to Ireland so far this year, down from to 3.3 million in the same period last year, but much of the fall off was due to the disastrous volcanic ash crisis in Iceland.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons stated it was important to note that people were booking vacations later than ever and that 50 per cent arrive between July and December.

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