The Gathering 2013 festival is due to take place next year, focusing on celebrating all things Ireland. The Daily Shift’s Sean O’Brien takes a look at the recent CSO figures in the run-up to the festival…
The number of trips made to Ireland has increased by 1.6% for the months of August to October, showing strong signs for Irish tourism. There was an overall increase in visits of 29,800 from the same period in 2011, CSO figures have revealed.
Trips from North America to Ireland increased by 14.9% to 337,000, in comparison with a smaller number of 293,500. The total number of visitors to Ireland from European countries outside of Great Britain, increased by 3.3% to 700,500 while the total number of trips made from other areas increased by 1.7% to 109,300.
These figures show a promising rise ahead of The Gathering 2013 festival, which is due to take place next year. The initiative, which focuses on celebrating all things Ireland, is supported by the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland and build up to the year-long event is already well underway.
Spokesperson and Head of Communications at Fáilte Ireland, Mr. Alex Connolly, welcomed today’s figures saying; “The figures provide a significant boost, but come as no great surprise.”
Mr. Connolly said; “The US market is up, as expected and Germany and France are also performing strong, as are developing markets such as China and India.”
“The major jump in the US market, we feel, is largely down to the Notre Dame versus Navy game back in September, which kick-started the build up to the Gathering festival,” said Mr. Connolly.
A crowd of almost 49,000 people, 30,000 of which were visiting Americans, attended the Aviva Stadium on September 1st for the clash between the two College Football giants. However, Mr. Connolly suggested that it is the smaller events that will make the Gathering festival a special event. With 1500 smaller events already lined up, Mr. Connolly said; “It is the grass-roots events that will make the Gathering what it is.”
Earlier this month, acclaimed actor Gabriel Byrne slammed the Gathering as a ‘scam’ to make money off Irish abroad but Mr. Connolly indicated that the actor’s comments have benefited the tourism campaign. He said: “Gabriel Byrne’s comments have actually raised the profile of the Gathering as we received a 30% increase in social media traffic which for us, is a good thing.”
The Gathering 2013 will be a year-long festival, calling on Irish people abroad and anyone who has a link to the country, to make a trip at some point next year for a series of celebrations of everything Irish.