Irish tourists are still traveling to New York City in droves despite the recession.
Tourist organization NYC Visit has reported that they expect the number of Irish visitors to the city to drop by just 5 percent this year compared with last year, even though Ireland is has experienced a dramatic economic downturn and the Irish are traveling less.
Last year, 353,000 Irish tourists visited New York, a 22 percent increase from 290,000 in 2007, according to NYC Visit and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
Bob Schumacher , the senior manager for Ireland and Britain for Continental airlines, which flies from Dublin to New York twice daily and from Shannon to Newark daily, says that “Ireland has long been a very successful market for Continental,” and ‘‘this year is proving no exception.”
Schumacher told Ireland’s Sunday Business Post: ‘‘The Irish market is proving extremely resilient.
“All three services out of the island of Ireland have consistently enjoyed load factors significantly above the average for our transatlantic routes, which was 78.8 percent year to date as of the end of September.
“We expect this to continue in the fourth quarter in the run-up to Christmas.”
Three other airlines run flights between Ireland the U.S.: Aer Lingus, American Airways and Delta.
A Delta spokesperson said that their Dublin-New York, Shannon-New York and Dublin-Atlanta routes’ load factors have been averaging at over 80 percent over the past 12 months.
The carrier, however, is suspending the Shannon-New York service until May, explaining: ‘‘Our studies indicate that this route shows a stronger passenger demand during the summer season.”
And though Aer Lingus has suffered dramatic losses in profit, a spokesperson said that Irish bookings to the U.S. this year were “helping to close the gap.”