Figures released by the tourism development authority, Fáilte Ireland, reveal that 2007 was a record year for Irish tourism in terms of visitors and earnings. 7.8 million people visited Ireland last year, a 5% increase on 2006.
The country’s main cities are still benefiting most from tourism, with significantly less people visiting the regions.
Fáilte Ireland chairperson Gillian Bowler said Shannon was a problem area which needed to be addressed with more air links and investment.
In 2007, Irish people spent at least €1 billion holidaying at home. Fáilte Ireland says the reliance on the home holiday market by some sectors of the tourist industry outside of Dublin remains a cause of concern
Growth in tourism figures were biggest in the North West and South East. A total of 87 new hotels opened in Ireland last year, providing almost 60,000 additional beds.