The number of visitors to Ireland who sought support after being victims of crime spiked by almost 25% last year.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) offered support and assistance to nearly 900 people who had fallen victim to crime and other traumatic events during their visit here in 2017.
The most common crime perpetrated against tourists was theft from person (39% of referrals). There was an increase in referral of theft from cars (11% of referrals), while a small number of tourists (15) were referred after violent crime such as aggravated theft, assault, sexual assault and robbery.
There were also 13 cases of online fraud, with tourists paying large deposits for accommodation, only to arrive and find no valid reservations had been made. Fraudsters had taken online payment for accommodation which they do not own and even for properties which do not exist.
Gardaí continued to refer the majority of cases (86%) to the ITAS, in particular, Pearse Street Garda Station in Dublin from which ITAS operates an office seven days a week.
Over 40% of tourist crimes occurred on the streets of Dublin City when tourists were sightseeing, shopping, and socialising. The majority of crimes took place between the hours of 2pm and 6pm, with victims tending to be female and aged between 17 and 25.
The service helped tourists from 48 countries, with German nationals making up the largest category assisted. This was followed by French, American, Italian, British, and Spanish tourists.
Commenting at the launch of the figures, ITAS chairman Kevin McPartlan said the service offers immediate support to tourists who are victims of crime in order to make a positive difference to their experience and get their holiday plans back on track.
“In 2017, 88% of tourists assisted by ITAS continued with their holiday plans,” he said. “I would like to thank the organisations and agencies who support ITAS.
“This support enhances Ireland’s international reputation as a caring and hospitable nation and reinforces visitors’ motives for choosing Ireland as a holiday destination.
“The invaluable support that ITAS offers visitors who require its services is a vital resource to the sector and one that requires further financial input for its future viability.”
The ITAS team consists of staff and volunteers who speak a variety of languages and offer immediate support and assistance to victims.
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