The vast majority of hotels and guest houses have seen an increase in business in the first half of 2017, despite a drop in the number of visitors from the British market.

The Irish Hotels Federation's latest quarterly barometer shows more than three quarters of hoteliers are seeing increased activity levels when compared with last year, while over 70% are seeing a pick-up in domestic visitors.

There has been an increase in visitor numbers from the US, France and Germany in the first half of the year, though numbers coming from Britain have declined since the Brexit vote.

The report suggests the general outlook for the rest of the year appears positive overall and Ireland looks on course to surpass the 8.8m overseas visits set last year.

More than half of hoteliers (52%) report increases in advance bookings from the United States, 35% for Germany and 27% for France.

IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn said despite the rise in activity there were still concerns, and he said the retention of the 9% VAT rate was key in order to keep the industry competitive.

Meanwhile, the barometer says around 50,000 new jobs have been created in tourism since 2011 and the industry is on track to create a further 40,000 jobs nationally by 2021.

Three in five (61%) hoteliers have recruited new staff over the past 12 months and nearly three in ten (29%) are planning to increase staff numbers over the next 12 months, according to the survey.