Fine Gael Councillor Noel Rock has welcomed news that tourism figures continue to rise. He was speaking after Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures for the first quarter of this year were released.

“According to today’s figures, 2014 looks set to be the fourth year of consecutive growth in overseas visitor numbers coming to Ireland. Since the Government came to office in 2011, the number of international visitors coming to Ireland has increased by more than one million per annum and is almost certain to exceed 7 million this year,” Cllr. Rock said.

“From a local perspective, we see the continued growth of attractions such as Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Museum being augmented by three additions which I helped launch: the gateway connecting them both, the O’Connell Tower Viewing Platform (opening in October) and the new Dublin City Red Bus Tour. All of these help being tourists and create jobs locally. These things are helped by, for instance, The Gravedigger’s being named as one of the Top 50 hidden gems in Europe”, Cllr. Rock continued

“The combination of new marketing campaigns, more air access and support from the Government appear to be making an impact,” Cllr. Rock added.

“The Government recognised early on in its term that tourism could play a key part in Ireland’s economic recovery and quickly moved to getting the sector back on its feet with targeted initiatives like the 9% VAT rate. The Gathering was a big success and it wasn’t anticipated that the performance of the tourism sector in 2013 would be matched. However, the figures show that we are actually increasing the number of visitors this year,” Cllr. Rock continued.

The figures confirm strong growth in the number of holiday trips taken by overseas visitors to Ireland, and an increase in visits to friends and relatives. All markets have shown increased numbers of visits in the first quarter. Comparing Quarter 1 2014 to Quarter 1 2013:

• Total number of visits from Great Britain grew by 11.4%;
• Total number of visits from North America grew by 5.9%;
• Total number of visits from Mainland Europe grew by 0.9%;
• Total number of visits from “Other” long-haul markets grew by 17.4%.

The figures are based on detailed surveys of overseas visitors and contain detailed information on expenditure, purpose of visit, and bednights.

“While these figures are only representative of the first three months of this year, it still is a strong start to the year. I would encourage everyone working in the tourism and hospitality trade in Glasnevin, Drumcondra and surrounding areas to keep up the high standards as we head into a busy festival period. Those high standards and a focus on giving good value for money are ensuring people who visit our area come back again.”