Ireland is back on the international holiday radar, say Irish Tour Operators

Green shoots for Ireland as inbound tourism businesses experience 19 per cent increase

The Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA) has released the results of their annual survey on the nature, scale and value of inbound tour operators to Irish tourism.

The report, released today, shows that the total gross turnover for the 30 inbound tour operators in 2012 was €217 million, representing a significant increase of 19 % over the 2011 figure of €183 million.

The average length of stay for tour groups in 2012 is estimated at 7.1 nights, with individual or other business averaging 4.7 nights. On this basis, the total number of bednights generated by incoming tour operators is estimated to have been almost 2.0 million bednights in 2012.

Group bednights accounted for almost three-quarters of the total (over 1.4 million).

Group and coach tours accounted for 50% of the turnover, and individual travel accounted for 25% of turnover. Special one-off events (a new category for 2012) accounted for 9% of the business with incentives and conferences accounting for most of the balance.

It is estimated that, excluding carrier receipts, tourists handled by ITOA members spent €346.0 million in Ireland in 2012.

€273.1 million came from leisure tourists and €72.9 million from business tourists.

Ruth Andrews, CEO of the ITOA, was speaking at the ITOA Tourism Business Workshop in Limerick on Tuesday. A further workshop will be held at Fitzpatrick’s Hotel, Dublin, at which the report will be published.

Ruth Andrews said: ‘These figures show us that Ireland is firmly back on the international holiday radar.

This level of growth means that people are still buying packaged holidays to Ireland. Holiday visitors stay longer, spend more, and travel more throughout the country.’

The Irish packaged tourism product is vitally important in selling the overall Ireland ‘experience’.  Ireland experts deliver real value for money in tailor-made programmes,  and this is clearly attractive to our overseas visitors.

This week also marks the official start of the tourism season in Ireland with St Patrick’s Day.

No other country has their national saint’s day celebrated as a big party all over the world,’ says Ruth Andrews. ‘Ireland is in a unique position to sell itself as a holiday destination internationally.

Download a full copy of the report here [opens as a PDF in Adobe Reader]

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