The Lonely Planet is a hugely popular and respected voice among international travellers. The inclusion of the Cliffs of Moher in their global ‘bucket list’ of must see attractions is a fantastic recognition which can only bode well for visitor numbers to our county.


The beauty and allure of the Cliffs of Moher is no secret but its inclusion on the Lonely Planet’s top 500 world attractions will only help increase its appeal internationally. It is one of only six attractions on the island of Ireland to be included on the Lonely Planet list.


This can only bode well for visitor numbers to Clare. Tourism is one of Ireland’s largest industries, supporting over 200,000 jobs, and it’s rebounding strongly. Under the Fine Gael led Government the sector has continued to grow and has been vital in rebuilding Ireland’s economy.


The special 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry was introduced by Fine Gael in 2011 to help the sector get back on its feet and it has been a huge success. Fáilte Ireland research has shown that since the VAT rate was originally cut to 9%, tourism has generated an extra 30,000 jobs.


Official CSO figures for the first half of 2015 confirm growth of +11.7% in overseas visitors to Ireland – an additional 407,100 visitors when compared with January to June 2014.


We are not going to rest on our laurels. The Government’s recently announced Tourism Policy statement includes targets to be achieved by 2025 of €5 billion in overseas tourism revenue, an extra 50,000 jobs in the tourism sector and ten million overseas visits to Ireland, compared to 7.6 million in 2014.


The continued popularity of the Cliffs of Moher, which has been bolstered by its inclusion on the Lonely Planet list, will help ensure that Clare benefits from this increase in tourism to our shores.