Tourism Ireland chief says that Ireland’s post-crash tourism boom has passed its peak

Published on : Friday, April 12, 2019

According to Tourism Ireland chief Niall Gibbons, Ireland’s post-crash tourism boom has passed its peak. With Brexit disappointing the value of sterling and upward pressure on costs ranging from labor shortages to the recent Vat hike, the tourism industry is going to struggle to keep up the increasing growth rates of recent years.


Tourism businesses in the Republic were recently hit with a Vat increase from 9% to 13.5%. It might prove difficult for Mr. Gibbons to meet Tourism Ireland’s target of 6% revenue growth from Irish tourism this year.


The targets are set by Tourism Ireland’s board, made up of representatives from both sides of the border.


Mr. Gibbons’ aim is to market the island of Ireland abroad.


The current flagship campaign encourages travellers to “Fill your heart with Ireland”.
To quote Mr. Gibbons, “It’s appealing to consumers who are living in a hyperconnected world, telling them that Ireland is a place where you can switch off – that’s what the advertising really speaks to. A lot of our strategy this year is about sustainability. It’s about actually trying to grow the business in quarter one and quarter four when you’ve got good value around, you’ve got good air access, and you’ve still got capacity around at very good value.”


Though it’s early in the year and not much data is available, Mr. Gibbons considers that hoteliers will struggle on average to pass the rate hike in full. Demand won’t increase at the same pace like previous years.


Fáilte Ireland – a separate organization which focuses on support for tourism businesses, has launched a ‘China Ready’ programme that would help businesses try and tap into the market.


Mr. Gibbons said that research is important if you’re going to try and attract Chinese visitors, but there are rewards to be gained.


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