Fine Gael Senator for Wexford, Michael D’Arcy, has said that the latest tourism figures recorded by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which show an increase in visitor numbers of 6.4%, is proof that the Gathering has been a huge success. Senator D’Arcy also commended all of those involved locally, in organising Gathering events in Wexford since the beginning of the year.
Tourism numbers way up
“The latest tourism figures are hugely encouraging, and they are a strong vindication of the effort put in by local people in Wexford who have organised and held various Gathering events over the last nine months. The number of overseas visitors coming here has increased by 6.4% since the beginning of the year, when compared with the same period last year.
US tourism particularly strong
“For the three-month period from July to September 2013, overseas trips to Ireland increased 7.8% to 2.26 million trips. This is the strongest performance in the third quarter in terms of visits since 2008. There are some very positive trends within these figures. The number of visitors coming here from North America is up 14.6%, and visits from the UK are finally on the rise, after several years of decline.
“We’ve also made a lot of progress in attracting overseas visitors from further afield, with visits from long-haul and developing markets up 13.7% for the first nine months of the year. The busy summer period of July to September was extremely strong for all of these markets. For example, visits from the UK were up 9% in this three month period, compared with the same time last year.
The Gathering can be sustained
“The Gathering has gone from strength to strength, with visitor numbers consistently growing throughout the year. While it will not be a yearly event, the Government is determined to build on the progress and buzz generated by the Gathering, so we can sustain these excellent visitor numbers next year.
9% VAT rate retained in the Budget
“Tourism is a really important source of employment in Wexford and across the country, and this is something that is fully recognised by the Government. That’s why the decision was taken in the Budget to maintain the 9% VAT rate on hospitality services and to scrap the air travel tax in a bid to encourage airlines to increase the number of routes and flights into Ireland.
Gov't is committed to the tourism sector
“The outlook for the tourism sector is very strong. Aer Lingus is due to expand its transatlantic services, Ryanair has already announced it is boosting flights to Shannon due to the scrapping of the air travel tax, and tourism industry figures are reporting confidence levels not seen since the boom. I have no doubt that Wexford will continue to benefit from extra visitors and increased tourism revenues between now and the end of the year.”