The readers of Frommer’s have voted Ireland the number one tourist destination for 2011. Ireland came in first place over Paris and is described by the guide as “the very tourist-friendly nation”.
Readers made comments such as “a magical destination in nearly every way” and “the rugged beauty of the island and its historic past enchant me”. Another said “love the scenery, love the people. Had an excellent time when I was last there, but need more time”.
“Beer, castles, lush landscapes, and small enough to explore via bicycle or car,” summed up another tourist’s experience.
Frommer’s lists sailing around the west coast, horseback riding in Donegal and drinking a hot whiskey in Davy Byrne’s as some of its highlights. It also recommends Newgrange, the Slieve Blooms, the Dublin Writers’ Museum, Cahir Castle, Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, kayaking in west Cork, cycling through Cork and Kerry and kissing the Blarney Stone.
The Irish Times also reports that Fáilte Ireland’s visitor attitudes survey revealed positive results. It found that 57 percent of tourists in 2010 said Ireland offered good all-round value for money. This is compared with 47 percent in 2009, which shows that price cuts of recent times are having the desired affect.
A poster on the Frommer’s forum asked if Ireland’s financial crisis and the poor exchange rate of the dollar to the euro meant that next year would be a good time to visit. They were told it was a good time and that there were good deals on inclusive escorted bus tours and car hire.
The response read “You may have to put in the time to look for them online before you go but also be sure to ask for a best price or better rates when you arrive.”
Niall Gibbons, from Tourism Ireland said the new addition of a flight service between Charlotte, North Carolina and Dublin in May is another positive development. He predicts that the U.S. market will return to growth. Especially with Tourism Ireland’s major new marketing drive there.
Speaking to the Irish Times Gibbons said “Consumer confidence and travel sentiment there is improving. Research shows there is pent-up demand for travel and this represents a real opportunity for Ireland.”
Tourism Ireland are starting a television campaign in March which will target the British market. The campaign will run for a year on radio, online and on social media. The “How Irish Are You?” campaign will also take place alongside the British census.