Wednesday, March 13 11:17:33
More than 120,000 overseas visitors will spend in excess of E50m during the St Patrick's Festival, according to Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Over 800,000 people are expected to take part in this year's festivities, which will commence from tomorrow until next Monday.
Gina Quin, Dublin Chamber Chief Executive said, "the St Patrick's Festival is Dublin's flagship annual event and it looks like this year could be the biggest one yet, with the expected increase in overseas visitors for The Gathering. The tourism sector has endured a difficult number of years and events like this are of significant importance and benefit to the economy".
An upward trend in overseas visitors has gathered momentum recently with the latest CSO figures for November 2012 to January 2013 showing the total number of trips to Ireland increasing to 1,248,300 - an overall increase of 52,900 compared to the same period twelve months earlier. According to Ms Quin, this demonstrates the importance of the reduced rate of VAT for tourism services.
Ms Quin concluded, "the decision by Government to extend the lower rate of VAT at 9pc was particularly important for the tourism sector, however, a commitment must be made to extend the application of the rate into 2014. One third of all hotel bednights are booked one year in advance, so providing a level of certainty on the VAT rate will allow the tourism industry to market this competitive advantage throughout 2013 in selling tourism products for 2014."