Dublin pubs gear up for American tourism boost on St Patrick’s Day

 Tuesday, March 14, 2023 


A steady flow of tourists from the US on St Patrick’s Day will help offset Dublin pub owners’ rising energy and food bills at a time when locals are contending with increasing costs of their own.

It’s been a tough few years for Dublin’s pubs as the pandemic and inflation has wrecked profit margins and hit local demand.

However, an influx of American tourists, flush with a strong US dollar and ready to spend, are likely to boost Ireland’s hospitality and travel industry from hotels and bars to golf clubs and visitor attractions this summer.

Tom Doone, who runs The Merchant’s Arch in Dublin’s Temple Bar district is expecting a busy tourism season — which traditionally kicks of with St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

A steady flow of visitors from the US will help offset pub owners’ rising energy and food bills at a time when locals are contending with increasing costs of their own.

Diageo Plc recently increased the wholesale price of Guinness by 12 Euro cents per pint, forcing many publicans to pass on the hike to customers.

In Ireland’s capital, accommodation is already close to capacity.

Dalata Hotel Group, the country’s largest hotel operator, said almost all its venues in Dublin are fully booked for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. It’s a “primarily North American” crowd, said Dermot Crowley, the group’s CEO.

An England-Ireland rugby game the same weekend has also boosted numbers, he added.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines Inc. is offering almost 3 times as many seats to Dublin from the US this March compared to in 2019. The airline has added new routes from Atlanta and Boston due to high demand.

While travellers from the US will help Ireland this summer, persistent inflation across the Eurozone and the UK will damp demand from the continent.

The economic outlook in Great Britain is of particular concern given it’s traditionally the largest source of overseas visitors to Ireland, said Denyse Campbell, president of the Irish Hotels Federation.

However, the outlook for the US looks more positive with a significant amount of pent-up demand present, she said.

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