The Gathering provides welcome boost to local businesses

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle has welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office, which has reported an increase of overseas visitor numbers to Ireland, up 5.4 per cent for first half of this year, the year of The Gathering.

Cllr Coyle said: “These figures confirm what I have been hearing from business owners on the ground for some time. Overseas visitors, as well as Irish people, are rediscovering Ireland as a place to go on holiday. The Gathering has given the tourism industry a shot in the arm and we have seen an increase of more than 15 per cent in visitors from North America.”

The figures from the CSO show that at almost 3.145 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 5.4 per cent in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012; visits from mainland Europe grew by 7.9 per cent for January to June 2013, to 1.149 million visits and visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, totalled 178,900 for the first six months of 2013, representing an increase of 5.7 per cent.

The councillor said that the “increase in visitors from North America is particularly positive, especially given that these visitors tend to spend more than others during their stay”.

Concluding, he said: “As a destination, Ireland offers spectacular beauty, world-class quality, genuine hospitality and increasingly good value. Perhaps now that we can boast continental summers we will attract even more visitors in the future!”

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