With an extra half a million visitors to Ireland during the first nine months of the year, tourism increased by nine percent compared to 2013, with the largest influx coming from the US and UK.

1.064 million visitors traveled from America, which is a quarter of a million more than visitors from the same period in 2012, and 130,000 more visitors than in 2013.

Despite The Gathering Ireland 2013 tourism initiative coming to a close, Central Statistics Office figures show that almost 6 million people visited Ireland between January and September, which is 500,000 more than that period in 2013.

200,000 more visitors came from Britain, making almost 2.4 million British visitors in total for 2014 so far. The Irish Independent reported that the number of tourists from Germany rose 16%, 13% from Spain, and 11% from “long-haul countries.”

“Our people, places and policies are delivering an exceptional experience for overseas visitors to Ireland – a fact which is reflected in today’s figures,” Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe told the Independent.

“Obviously tourists are heeding the advice of ‘Conde Nast,’ ‘Rough Guide,’ and, this week, ‘Lonely Planet’ which position Ireland as one of the most attractive tourist destinations on the planet.” The Lonely Planet, which is the world’s largest travel-guide book publisher, just ranked Ireland as fifth best travel country in the world after Singapore, Namibia, Lithuania and Nicaragua.

The Minister said he would soon be launching Tourism Ireland’s 2015 marketing plans, and is publishing a Tourism Policy Statement prioritizing investment that would maximize the return from tourism in the medium to long term.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons said that the increase in tourism is very welcome, considering the fact that overseas visitors account for nearly 60% of Ireland’s tourism revenue. He added that the surge will increase employment nationwide.

An extra half a million visitors came to Ireland during the first nine months of 2014.Thinkstock