A 6.4% rise in the number of tourists visiting Ireland during 2013, to over 5.4 million, has had the expected positive knock-on effect on the economy.
According to new figures from payment technology giant, Visa, spending by overseas visitors using its card products alone — be it via debit, credit or pre-paid cards — rose by 21%, to €794m, in the 12 months to the end of September.
Strong double-digit percentage growth was seen in card spending from visitors from a host of countries, with the top 10 including the main Scandinavian nations, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada and Australia. Visitors from the US and Britain drove the increase, with nearly €540m spent between them.
Spend by US visitors has risen by 43% compared with the same period last year and averages €750,000 a day while British visitor spend is worth €1.2m a day to the Irish economy.
Furthermore, overall spend was spread across a host of categories like car hire, entertainment and hotels.
According to Conor Langford, Visa Europe’s country manager for Ireland: “What is clear from the data is that foreign cardholders always look to use payment cards wherever possible due to convenience and security, with a 21% increase in spending compared with last year.
“In this regard, it is important that Irish businesses keep up-to-date with the latest payment technology, such as contactless payments which are becoming commonplace across Europe, as overseas visitors will automatically expect to use the same payment methods in Ireland.
“For example, people from 25 different countries made payments in Ireland using their Visa contactless cards this year.”
“Our cardholder data underlines the importance of overseas visitors to the Irish economy and in this respect the Government should be congratulated for boosting visitor numbers through The Gathering initiative.”
At present, around €1 in every €7 spent in Ireland is done via a Visa card.