The weekend saw a busy Easter, but one well-known hotelier said the tourism season started in earnest last month.
Donegal representative for the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) Paul Diver, who runs the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, said it has been a great start to the season for the hospitality sector and much of the visitor numbers are due to the continuing success of the Wild Atlantic Way promotion.
He said for the last month, there has been a steady stream of visitors around the county. He added that one of the largest growing markets is visitors from the greater Dublin area.
“It has been a great start. The season started a month earlier this year. Easter was in March last year, so the season started then and then died off a little. But we have been going since early March. Weekends have been very strong and mid-week has been quiet enough, but that is to be expected. Every weekend from now on will be very strong. There is a great mix of tourist coming. The Wild Atlantic Way is certainly bringing the Americans. You can see a huge amount of hire cars around the county.”
He said their traditional markets for the local tourism product are holding well, but there has been a new market open up on the domestic front in recent years.
He explained: “The English market is still holding up well. The sterling we thought was weaker than it was this time last year, but it is still up around £1.19 which is good enough. The Northern Ireland market is holding up but the big success for the Donegal market has been the greater Dublin market. We managed to break into that a couple of years ago.
“The TV campaign that Donegal Tourism and Failte Ireland ran a couple of years ago really paid off.”
Large amounts of visiting Easter tourists were arriving in the county from the start of last week as many of the schools in the UK have been on holiday since last Monday.