Almost three quarters of Irish hotels and guesthouses are reporting increased business for 2013, according to the Irish Hotels Federation.

The IHF's quarterly barometer picks up a notable improvement in sentiment among its members with 84% saying they have a positive outlook for the coming 12 months.

Just 46% of respondents had the same confidence a year ago.

Looking back over 2013, 73% of respondents said they had seen an increase in overall business levels throughout the year. 

Over half reported seeing improved Christmas trade with the majority of hoteliers indicating that businesses have been more willing to hold Christmas events and celebrations compared to 2012. 

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn said The Gathering had proved "an enormous success in attracting additional overseas visitors, particularly from North America".

"Many of these holidaymakers travelled around the country during their stay, delivering a boost to regional tourism and local economies.

"We have also benefited from growth in tourism visitors from continental Europe and the UK," he said.