Leitirm's overseas tourist numbers are up by 7000 in last 7 years

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

A big year planned for Leitrim Tourism

Leitrim Tourism website www.leitrimtourism.com

Leitrim has seen an increase in overseas visitor numbers of over 7,000 since 2010 according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

Welcoming the increase, Sligo/Leitrim TD, Tony McLoughlin said: "Whilst this in itself is good news for the county and our local business and it is solid growth which is very much welcomed, I feel that the likes of Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland need to do more internationally with regards to promoting just what we have to offer visitors here in Co Leitrim”.

“Nationally, the first seven months of this year have seen over five and a half million tourists visit Ireland. Overall trips to Ireland were up 3.1% compared to the same period in 2016. This is a positive indication that the Government policy is working quite well in this regard.  

“It is important to note that the tourism sector has played a crucial role in the Irish economic recovery to date. Measures such as the retention of the 9% VAT rate on tourism services and the Air Travel Tax reduction have been significant in helping our tourism sector weather the recession and now prosper in the recovery and deliver new jobs to rural Ireland.

“This week’s CSO figures show that the number of North American and European visitors continues to surge ahead, despite a slight drop in numbers from the UK, which will be of a huge concern to us here Co. Leitrim given our reliance on tourists from Northern Ireland. The depreciation in Sterling is the major factor involved but economic developments within GB are also having an impact. Whilst I am advised that both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland are taking steps to assist the industry in this regard, a fundamental factor in continuing to attract British visitors at this stage is value for money. It is therefore important now more than ever that the industry retains its competitiveness.”

“Regionally, the numbers employed in tourism continue to grow with an increase of 6,900 jobs in the Northwest region since 2011. These new jobs are vital to our local economy and to the communities they serve and I anticipate further growth in the sector going forward.

“In particular, the Wild Atlantic Way is proving enormously successful in delivering new tourists to Leitrim, although as stated above, new measures and new approaches are needed to enable Leitrim to benefit better from this amazing tourism initiative,” concluded McLoughlin.