Awakening the force of tourism - Visitors give us a second chance

IF Tourism Ireland achieves its target for 2016, it will surpass this year’s record performance by bringing some 8.2 million visitors to these shores, worth a whopping €4.4 billion to the economy next year. While a 4% growth on 2015 might not seem overly ambitious, it represents a significant boost in the cut-throat international tourism industry.
Awakening the force of tourism - Visitors give us a second chance

The latest figures confirm the bounce-back of Irish tourism since 2010 and the global collapse. According to the CSO, the influx of visitors to Ireland from Britain has jumped by 20%, due no doubt as much to the exchange rate of sterling against the euro as the lure of the Wild Atlantic Way. Perhaps even more telling was the huge increase of 51% in North American visitors, while the number from mainland Europe went up by 38% and, from a much smaller base, the numbers from Australia and other developing markets has shot up by 66%.

Ironically, considering the level of opposition against filming it at the time, the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, featuring the spectacular scenic beauty of Skellig Michael, is seen as a “truly unique opportunity to highlight the South West and Ireland in 2016”. With such impressive rates of increase, you can be sure some hoteliers and B&B operators will find it hard to resist the temptation of fleecing the unsuspecting visitor. There should be no question of returning to the bad old days of the Celtic Tiger era when Ireland deserved its reputation as the rip-off capital of the world.

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