The chief executive of Tourism Ireland showed confidence that international travel will be back

Published on : Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The chief executive of Tourism Ireland has recently explained that he does not undervalue the size of this current challenge before for the tourism sector but is quite confident at the same time that international travel will definitely recommence in the third quarter of 2021.

While speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Niall Gibbons said the sector is facing “a very, very difficult picture moving forward”. Mr Gibbons stated that Ireland has lost its touch with ten of 24 North American and Canadian gateways because of this pandemic. These are as follows – Miami, Atlanta and Vancouver, which he said “represents an enormous amount of decline”.

Mr Gibbons mentioned that there is “big” and unexpressed demand among tourists to come to Ireland. Also, there’s a significant amount of pick-up by vaccinated Americans who are keen to travel. However, he mentioned that the trends have shown that people are heading to Latin America and the Caribbean, and that a lot of golf tourists are “drifting to Scotland”.

“It is quite clear there will be no recovery in the first half of this year, but we are hopeful of seeing recovery in the second half of the year,” he said, emphasizing the fact that Tourism Ireland will work with international golf tour operators in driving business into the country. Mr Gibbons also said that the EU digital green certificate will be welcomed, but the whole bloc will not move as a whole to welcome visitors from North America, who plays an important part in tourism spend in Ireland.

He highlighted that in Ireland, international spend accounted for 75% of tourism spend in the pre-Covid year of 2019. He said that this amounted to €5.8 billion, which was critical to rural Ireland, with a large part of it coming from North America.

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