Last year's tourism figures fell back to levels last seen in 1998, according to Fáilte Ireland.

Tourism earnings fell 13% to €4.6bn, according to figures from the tourism body.

Visitor numbers fell 15% to 5.6m. Of this, the British market declined 18%, the European market fell by 17% and the US was down 9%.

Fáilte Ireland says a recovery of the British market is now a key strategy for 2011.