Tourism update on a very successful 2015 in Ireland
Great news with the release of 2015 tourism numbers.
Ireland’s tourism industry is now worth €7.3 billion to our economy with nearly eight million tourists to Ireland spending more than €4 billion here last year. This is an 11% increase on 2014 and a new record for Ireland.
Domestic tourism revenue is expected to show an increase of at least 6 % to €1.6 billion, with a further €300 million earned from Northern Ireland visitors.
This has been attributed to the weak euro and also lower VAT rate of 9% enjoyed by hospitality providers. The removal of the travel tax has also proved significant with Ryanair citing it as the main reason for increased numbers of visitors to Ireland.
The following is from the ITIC’s Review of 2015 & Outlook for 2016. ” The continued provision and upgrading of key tourism attractors is vital to the future success of the industry. ITIC has already outlined the case for state support for the sector indicating that a 5 year €250 million capital programme for tourism projects is needed to ensure that growth in tourism is sustainable. Mr Gallagher expressed disappointment with the amount of state investment in tourism infrastructure “Failure to make adequate investment provision in tourism infrastructure and facilities is short sighted and will inevitably lead to lack of innovation, a loss of competitiveness, and a downturn in demand. Tourism uniquely has the potential to deliver economic and social development to many villages, towns and communities throughout the country”. Mr. O’Mara Walsh also expressed concern about the 40% drop in Tourism Ireland’s destination marketing budget over the past 7 years, despite an increasingly challenging trading environment and greater competition in the marketplace. ITIC is calling for a significant reversal of this downward trend, pointing out that Ireland is currently benefiting from unusual circumstances created by a weak euro against the dollar and sterling, as well as a significant drop in oil prices. “Ireland’s share of voice is dropping in our key markets”, according to O’Mara Walsh, “and this is likely to lead to a damaging loss of impact in winning attention and influencing potential tourists.”
Ongoing investment is key to sustaining these numbers and ultimately growing them further. Improving revenue generation is also key for any tourism business going forward and goes hand in hand with investment.