The Gathering is the largest ever tourism campaign to be run by the State. The objective of the campaign has been to increase the number of people visiting Ireland in 2013 and, as a direct consequence, to boost the local hospitality industry. The goal of the campaign is to attract in excess of 325,000 visitors to Ireland in 2013 and we are on target to achieve that ambitious goal. According to the Irish Hotels Federation, 76% of hoteliers in Ireland are expecting a growth in their business directly as a result of the campaign.
So far this year the increased number of tourists visiting Ireland is a reflection of the success of the Gathering 2013.Over 3.14 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in the first half of 2013, which is a 5.4% uplift over the same period in 2012. According to B&B Ireland, online bookings were up 62% and trade bookings were up 26% in the first three months of 2013, compared with the same period last year. This has created a much needed boost to the hospitality sector and is arguably the result of the increased publicity abroad that surrounds The Gathering and the momentum that it has achieved.
Approximately 3,300 individual events were planned for The Gathering, from festivals and sporting events, to clan gatherings and concerts which have created a high demand on the hospitality industry.
Michael Vaughan, IHF President has noted that “The boost from The Gathering is particularly visible in our North American market, with visitors up almost 19 per cent in the year to date. Many of these are high- spending tourists who travel around during their stay, delivering a boost to local economies.We have also benefited from growth in European markets, up 6 per cent since January. Of course, other Government initiatives have played a vital role over the last two years. Thanks to pro-tourism measures, we have gained a competitive advantage when marketing Irish tourism internationally. The reduced tourism VAT rate– and lower PRSI – have enabled tourism businesses to survive and take on thousands of jobs at a very difficult time when employment would otherwise have dropped significantly.”