An Irish tourist drive is about to get under way in Britain, following a decision by Irish tourism minister John O'Donoghue to launch an overseas marketing campaign.
An extra €4.5m is to be provided for the campaign, mainly in Britain, in the hope of attracting late-season business.
According to sources, tourist numbers are down by about 25% in most of Ireland.
Hotels that depend on US business have been hardest hit, with some reporting a 40% drop in trade.
On announcing the extra money, O'Donoghue acknowledged that the industry was "facing a major challenge".
He rejected criticism that the campaign was too late: "I am convinced there is still good business out there to be won."
The Irish Hotels' Federation claimed it could attract people planning late holidays or short breaks.
But the Tour Operators' Association of Ireland described the €4.5m as "a drop in the ocean" and said five times that amount was needed.