Opening Bell: Tourists spending big in Ireland, students looking to construction, Liffey Valley for sale

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news

Eight million people visited Ireland last year, a 13.1% increase on 2014 figures.

According to Fáilte Ireland, tourists spent €6 billion in the country, which represented a 16% increase on the year previous.

This amount included the money paid to Irish airlines and ferry carriers.

Tourists from the UK accounted for the largest slice of the visitors, with 42% of tourists journey across the Irish Sea to visit the country.

In total, some 3.3 million UK residents holidayed in Ireland in 2015.

Traffic from North America was up 12.9%, with 1.1 million crossing the Atlantic, while people from continental Europe spent the most, contributing €1.6bn to the Irish economy – 36% of the overall amount.

There were over 600,000 German visitors, 471,000 from France and 322,000 from Spain.

______________________________________________________

There's been a surge in students applying for courses in construction, according to this year's CAO figures.

Overall, the CAO has seen an extra 20% apply for construction-linked courses,

That means third level points are due to go up next month in higher degree studies in the built environment.

The Irish Times claims that the revived interest owes to the recent economic recovery and that there are enough jobs to meet the demand, with the Construction Industry Federation hiring at a rate of around 1,000 people per month.

Elsewhere, nursing is up by 9%, while engineering and technology are up by 7%.

Point decreases are likely in dentistry, agriculture and arts degrees.

______________________________________________________

The Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in west Dublin is reported to soon be up for sale.

The Irish Times has learnt that the centre and adjacent land will hit the market at a price of approximately €600m.

A group led by US real estate investor Hines and including the Grosvenor Group and HSBC Alternative Investments has hired Eastdil to broker the sale.

Hines and the HSBC unit purchased a 73% stake in the property from Aviva Investors for €250m in 2014.

______________________________________________________

The implications of Britain leaving the European Union will be discussed at a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Wales today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan will meet the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, in Cardiff.

The summit is seen as an opportunity for a number of leaders to discuss concerns surrounding Brexit.

Gina Quinn from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce says that the issue of trade should be top of the agenda:

"They think the Brexit situation has left us all with an enormous need for more communication, more talks.

"The really important issue here is what happens about trade between Ireland and the United Kingdom, and indeed Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland."
"But also how the whole European environment works with the British economy."