Fine Gael Minister of State Joe McHugh said he is encouraging Donegal people to consider a staycation in 2017.
The Donegal politician said that 2016 was a record year for Irish tourism, benefitting communities and businesses in Donegal.
But as thoughts turn to summer holiday bookings, he wants people to consider holidaying locally.
He said “2016 was a record year for Irish tourism, an industry that is absolutely crucial to communities and businesses here in Donegal. The latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), showed an increase of 277,000 overseas visits to Ireland for the first eleven months of 2016 compared to the same period of 2015. This represents an increase of 11%.
“The largest increase was in visits from North America, up 18.3%. Visits from Mainland Europe grew by 8.8%; and visits from Great Britain were up by 11.1%. We must continue to prioritise our marketing of Irish tourism in Britain this coming year, particularly in the context of Brexit.
“Communities across Donegal are so dependent on tourism and we know how it can benefit local businesses here. The CSO figures released in December show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors (excluding fares) for the first nine months of the year rose by 9.4% compared with the corresponding period of 2015.”
Minister for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan, has noted that in addition to the strong performance in overseas tourism, our home holiday market is also growing.
Domestic holiday trips and related expenditure were each up by over 3% in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same period last year.
And Minister McHugh added “The New Year period is a busy time of year for the holiday market, as people turn their thoughts to booking a summer trip. I strongly encourage Irish people to consider a staycation in 2017.
“Donegal is well placed to cater for domestic visitors as well as those from overseas, with the many sites and attractions we have to offer here, including Malin Head, Sliabh Liag, Doe Castle, Fanad Lighthouse and St. John’s Point Lighthouse, Glenveagh National Park, Ards Forest Park, as well as many others.”