DESPITE the fall in the number of visitors from Britain because of the continuing weakness of the value of sterling caused by the Brexit situation, it was good to note from the latest Central Statistics Office tourism figures for the first nine months of this year that there was an increase of 2.9% in overseas visits to Ireland compared with the same period in 2016.
This is due the number of visitors from North America, mainland Europe and other markets increasing year-on-year. With direct flights between Cork Airport and Providence, Rhode Island, having started on July 1st last, the third quarter of the year has seen more tourists from the United States coming directly into the south west of Ireland, compensating somewhat for the loss of British visitors, who were always good spenders, benefitting pubs and restaurants.
Fáilte Ireland figures revealed that 1,377,000 overseas tourists came to Cork in 2016 and it is important for the area that this is built upon this year, given that tourism accounts for 11% of total employment in Ireland with 60,000 jobs in the hotel sector alone. But it is vital that we keep up standards and provide value for money.