Tourism Ireland comment on cso figures for December 2011 TO February 2012

27 March 2012 – Commenting on the CSO figures issued today for overseas
visitor numbers to Ireland for the three-month period December 2011 to
February 2012, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland,
the global economic landscape of recent months, which continues to present
a challenging environment for travel, I am pleased to see growth of almost
+3% for the three-month period December 2011 to February 2012. It is a
positive start to 2012. Particularly welcome is the growth of +6.6% in
visitor numbers from Great Britain, our largest and most important market
which delivers about 45% of all our overseas visitors.

We anticipate that growth in overseas visitors numbers for the first
quarter of this year will be slow; however, overall sentiment and
anecdotal feedback from tour operators and travel trade contacts in our key
markets, as well as from people working in the tourism industry around
Ireland, is cautiously optimistic – particularly for quarters two and
three of 2012. Right now, we are rolling out an extensive first half
marketing campaign around the globe, to build on last year’s return to

Overseas tourism has a critical role to play in contributing to Ireland’s
economic recovery. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59%
(approximately €3.4 billion) of all tourism revenue and has the capacity to
deliver even more for Ireland as part of an export-led economic
renewal. Tourism
is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, contributing almost 4% of GNP and
providing employment for over 200,000 people in every community throughout
the island.

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