The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has released its first tourism dashboard since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will track the industry's recovery on a monthly basis going forward.
February data indicates that total arrivals were down 41% compared to the same month in pre-pandemic 2019. Hotel occupancy stood at 57% while average Brent oil prices, which is a key determinant of carrier fares, were €93 per barrel, which was 52% higher than the same month pre-pandemic.
The tourism dashboard is published in association with AIB and compares each month to the same month in 2019, which was the last normal year of operations for the Irish tourism industry. Using carrier and port data, ITIC is able to extrapolate inbound visitor numbers by market based on past performance.
Statements By ITIC CEO
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
ITIC CEO Eoghan O'Mara Walsh stated, "Comparing tourism monthly data to 2019 we feel is the best comparison and will help track recovery. Pre-pandemic tourism was the country's largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer and it is vital that the sector returns to growth."
In February, continental Europe recovered most strongly, down 35% on 2019, while the key North American market was down 48%, and O'Mara Walsh pointed out that the tourism season traditionally kicks off around the St Patrick's Festival and that tracking market performance on a monthly basis will act as a key guide to the industry's state of recovery.
"Overall, in 2022 we are hoping for a 60% recovery in inbound tourism numbers compared to 2019 which would be no mean feat considering the mauling that the industry has faced in the last two years," O'Mara Walsh, who warned that the war in Ukraine, inflation and labour shortages could put a handbrake on the sector’s recovery, said.
Statement By AIB Hospitality Sector Strategist
AIB hospitality sector strategist Mary Mackin stated, "Government supports have been crucial in supporting the sector remain open over the last two years, and despite the challenges the data shows, AIB is optimistic that tourism will rebound in 2022. The tourism and hospitality industry is fundamentally important to the Irish economy - employment, regional economic balance, and exchequer returns are dependent on a thriving sector."
© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.