Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Tuesday) said that the huge rise in B&B bookings since the start of the year bodes well for the success of The Gathering. According to B&B Ireland, online bookings were up 62% and trade bookings were up 26% in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last year.
“These are very encouraging figures from the B&B sector, which show that the Government’s plans to boost tourism figures as part of The Gathering are already bearing fruit. The B&B sector has returned to growth after a tough couple of years, and I think the role played by B&Bs in making a success of our overall tourism offering should not be underestimated.
“B&Bs are most popular amongst visitors from France, Germany and the US, who are looking for an authentic experience during their stay in Ireland. Considering The Gathering is based around encouraging the Irish diaspora to come home and rediscover their roots, it is little wonder that B&Bs are proving to be so popular.
“Just ahead of the summer season, I think we all need to step up our efforts to make The Gathering as big a success as possible. I would like to commend the B&B sector for its determination to adapt to the changing marketplace through improving its presence online and making prices more competitive.
“About 3,300 individual events are already planned for The Gathering, from festivals and sporting events, to clan gatherings and concerts. Today, at the Meitheal event in the RDS, Irish tourism operators are selling our offering to overseas traders who are planning ahead for next year and beyond. Through the success of The Gathering we can ensure tourism figures continue to grow in the years ahead.
“Things are certainly looking up for the Irish tourism sector. Visitor numbers are rising consistently, The Gathering is proving to be very popular and we’ve regained our reputation as a value for money destination. I hope these positive trends will continue for the rest of the year, so the tourism sector can continue to rebound and create jobs.”