NI tourism should prepare for more expensive flights, says report

 Wednesday, June 7, 2023 


Northern Ireland’s tourism industry should prepare for a future in which climate change mitigation has made air travel more expensive, a report says.

The research paper from the Department for the Economy considers challenges over the next decade.

It says rising air travel costs may limit affordability for external tourists.

It added the sector will have to mitigate against airplane dependency and the rise of carbon prices.

Air routes are the major way in which overseas tourists arrive in Northern Ireland.

The research states that the dependency on air travel creates a high risk as carbon prices may continue to rise in the future, resulting in a reduction of airline demand.

Northern Ireland will need to strike the balance between managing the risks associated with rising carbon prices and maintaining connectivity of airports between target tourist markets.

Air travel is one of the most controversial areas of net-zero emissions policy: it will be difficult to run jet engines using less-polluting technologies and government’s are reluctant to agree to measures which will make travel more expensive.

The research uses examples from other countries to suggest that any extra taxes should be used to fund climate and environmental projects.

Problem of over tourism

The study also says that the industry needs to anticipate and limit the problem of “over tourism”, which is when the numbers and behaviour of tourists negatively impacts local communities.

This has been seen in cities like Amsterdam which recently ran a campaign discouraging visits from young British men.

The research points to the impact tourism is already having on housing stress along the north coast.

It suggests a pilot scheme for tougher regulations covering short stays rents and digital booking platforms in specific locations.

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