Someone once said “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The phrase is used to describe the persuasive power of numbers, particularly when the use of statistics is required in bolstering untruths and weak arguments.
Such is the case today, with Tourism Ireland welcoming the latest Central Statistics Office, Ireland (CSO) figures which show there was an eight per cent increase in the number of visitors holidaying in Ireland in 2011. Figures bandied about by RTE, Radio Stations and leading newspapers inform us that 6.6 million tourists came here in 2011 – that’s half a million more than in 2010.
“Great, fabulous, our economy is on the up, very soon we can pay our debts and recover our valued sovereignty,” you say, but the truth is less sensational and sobering.
These figures being bandied about today are a gross exaggeration. According to the (CSO) visitor figures for 2011, there were only 6505 million, while statistics for Overseas Visitors visiting Ireland since 2004 are recorded as follows:-
Year: 2004 – Visitors 6574, Year: 2005 – Visitors 6977, Year: 2006 – Visitors 7709, Year: 2007 - Visitors 8012, Year: 2008 – Visitors 7839, Year: 2009 – Visitors 6928, Year: 2010 – Visitors 6037, Year: 2011 - Visitors 6505.
See the figures Here for yourselves. Truth is we had 1.5 million less visitors here in Ireland, in 2011, than we had in 2007.
Tourism Ireland did not state that according to the same CSO (30th August 2012) they forecast that in the period May – July 2012, the total number of visitor trips to Ireland fell by 2.2% to 1,937,800, or an overall decrease of 43,000, compared to the same period in 2011. Trips in 2012 by residents of Great Britain to Ireland, over the same period, dropped by 6.8% to 746,200. The number of visitors from North America decreased by 3.3% to 347,600. Visitors from European Countries, other than Great Britain (Other Europe), rose by 2.1% to 723,600 while visitors from ‘Other Areas,’ increased by 7.6% to 120,400.
See their 2012 figures Here , so who does Tourism Ireland believe they are fooling.
Ireland has two State organisations, uniquely by European standards, involved in Irish tourism, namely Tourism Ireland & Fáilte Ireland, former involved in international marketing, while the latter is involved in home marketing.
Fáilte Ireland, state that there were 6.24 million overseas visitors to the Republic in 2011 and they spent a total of €3.16 billion. The previous year there were 5.95 million visitors and they spent €3 billion, while in 2009 there were 6.58 million visitors and they spent €3.4 billion. Project director of The Gathering, Jim Miley, states that a more conservative estimate of a ‘per-person spend,’ is probably justified given that many of those who respond to ‘The Gathering Message,’ will be staying with family or friends.
A budget for tourism of €5 million has been sanctioned for this year, by Varadkar’s department, in order to promote the idea of “The Gathering Ireland 2013,” and it is expected a similar amount of public money will be spent on the project next year. However one fact is definite, little or none of this funding has been spent to market Thurles & North Tipperary.
Like the man said “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”