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Ireland set for record breaking year for tourism

The number of overseas visitors to Ireland from key markets such as the US, the UK and mainland Europe is increasing.

It means that Ireland is heading for a record breaking year for tourism, but the industry has been warned not to make the mistakes of the past by overcharging.

Within ten years the tourism industry could bring €5bn per year into the country, according to the Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe.

Ireland set for record year for tourism - but must not ‘repeat the mistakes of the past’

The government has a special rate of just 9% VAT for the tourism industry. However, Mr Donohoe said that this was dependent on the industry continuing to offer value for money.

He said: “We must be mindful of the mistakes that were made in the past and ensure they are not repeated. Our value for money rating has improved dramatically in recent years.”

So far in 2015 the number of visitors from Britain, North America and mainland Europe has increased.

The first six months of this year has seen a 32% increase in visitors from Italy and 15% increase from both North America and Spain.

There were also increase in the number of visitors from France (13%), Germany (12%) and the UK (9.4%).

Mr Donohoe said that this was “our best half year performance ever”.

Tourism Ireland believe that the growth has come about thanks partly because Ireland offers good value for money. This is particularly the case for British and American tourists whose currency is strong against the Euro.

The abolition of travel tax in the South has also helped to make it cheaper to visit Ireland.

Another reason for the increase is thought to be down to successful campaigns from the tourism industry to promote the country to visitors.

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The ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ has been a particular success. There are also high hopes that a similar campaign to promote ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ could prove equally successful.

Mr Donohoe said that Ireland is on track to welcome 10 million visitors per year by 2025, a 24% increase from the 7.6 million who visited in 2014.

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