2006 has been a wonderful year for the Irish tourism industry, with record numbers of North Americans and British people visiting the “Emerald isle”. To be exact, Ireland this year has so far welcomed 8.8 million overseas visitors, a figure 8.5% higher than last year.
The increase has been mainly influenced by Britons. There have also been 11% more Americans in Ireland this year. Increased numbers of tourists have allowed for around 150.000 new job opportunities and brought over € 4.2 billion to the country.
Paul Allen, head of the research and development department of the government tourism organisation Tourism Ireland, points out that the local tourism industry has been enjoying the rewards of “unique selling points”, stressing the country’s most notable attractions.
The government has invested heavily in promoting Ireland’s strong points: lush greenness, welcoming people, superb folklore culture and sporting opportunities. For nature lovers, there are vast green spaces, mountains and rivers: for music lovers the magnificent atmosphere surrounding local pubs and traditional dances: for sport lovers fishing opportunities, horse racing and traditional Irish sports unique to the island.
Apart from producing the successful marketing campaign, the Irish government has reacted to positive results by new investments. The total capital allocation for the next year is up 32% on this year whereas the total tourist budget has been set at € 153.7 billion, up 9% on this year. Clearly, the Irish government sees investing further in tourism as a way of increasing the € 4.2 billion which tourism has so far generated this year.