The economy is set for a much-needed €90m tourism boost this weekend, as up to 200,000 overseas visitors join in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Up to 300,000 people will pass through the nation’s airports over the weekend. In Dublin alone, St Patrick’s Day Festival organisers estimate 120,000 tourists will be among the half a million people lining the streets today.
The organisers of the Cork City parade estimate that 70,000 people will visit the city over the three-day holiday period.
The latest figures from Tourism Ireland point to an average tourist spend of over €450 each time they visit this country.
The fact that St Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday will be a massive boost for many struggling retailers.
Normally, most shops do not open for the day but up to 70% will throw their doors open to cash in on the holiday atmosphere.
In the country’s cities, most major retailers will be trading, with some even extending their hours.
Of those who will not be open, most are located close to the parade route and have decided that, due to access issues, trading would be non-productive.
Retail Ireland admits that sales will likely be down on a normal Saturday but will be significantly higher than a mid-week St Patrick’s Day, especially as Sunday is Mother’s Day.
The hospitality industry will also capitalise, especially with the added bonus of the England-Ireland Six Nations rugby match, which will see tourists from across the water flocking to the nearest pub at 5pm today.
The only dampener, literally, on the atmosphere will be the weather.
Met Éireann predicts that, while the day will start dry and sunny, rain will spread across the country from the west and south. Those showers are likely to be prolonged in the southern half of the country.
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