DUBLIN, Ireland - The booming Irish €6.3billion tourism industry delivered 5,000 much-needed jobs this year, figures revealed today.
Overseas visitors grew by 9% to 7.3 million – the highest number since 2008 – and they spent more than €3.5 billion in Ireland in 2014.
Irish Tourist Industry Confederation chairman Paul Carty said: “Tourism has amply demonstrated its resilience having weathered several difficult years.
“And it has proven its ability as an important indigenous export sector to deliver growth.
“Tourism businesses are estimated to employ in excess of 200,000 with 5,000 having been added in the past year and the prospect of a further 8,000 jobs being created in 2015.”
It seems the only way is up as industry experts have predicted an extra 400,000 people will visit these shores in the course of 2015.
But it’s not just tourists fuelling our economy as Irish consumers spent €1.5billion this year.
This was 6% more than in 2013 while our neighbours up North also splashed €300million on visits over the border.
With the number of tourists visiting Ireland from abroad rocketing, all four top market areas recorded growth.
There was a welcome 8% boost in holidaymakers, those coming to visit friends and relatives grew by 14% and business visits were also up 4% on last year.
However, it was traffic from the US, Germany, France and Canada which gave the Irish economy the biggest leg-up.
Chief executive Eamonn McKeon added: “It’s hard to imagine a more favourable set of circumstances for tourism – an improved economy in most source markets fuelling a strong demand for travel, increased capacity on air and sea services to Ireland, falling fuel prices and a stronger US dollar and pound sterling, coupled with the good value for money to be had in Ireland.
“That was the story in 2014 which led to a marked recovery for the sector which had been challenged for much of the past five years.”
Irish air and sea carriers benefitted hugely from the tourism boom with an extra€1billion from visitors in 2014.
The launch of the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way has also been hailed as one of the greatest new attractions.
The Government’s decision to maintain the 9% VAT rate on tourism services and the suspension of the Air Travel Tax have also boosted our competitiveness.
And the domestic market is expected to see bigger demand in staycations as personal finances improve.
Apart from the recession, the industry suffered due to the rising business costs and up to 50,000 jobs were lost.
But even though business is booming, the ITIC insisted we need a five-year, €250million investment programme of to ensure growth is sustainable.
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