General Industry

Latest Tourism Industry Barometer Reflects Buoyant Year

By Dave Simpson
Latest Tourism Industry Barometer Reflects Buoyant Year

Tourism performance throughout 2018 continues to be on a strong footing, according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer published today (Wednesday October 3). The survey of more than 500 tourism businesses around the country shows over half of the tourism industry is reporting their business to be up, with two thirds (64%) saying that tourism agency supports have been a contributing factor to their success.

However, today’s report also showed that industry sentiment is down slightly on recent years, despite high visitor numbers and strong performance, which is an indication that perceptions regarding growth in the sector are dipping.

This drop in sentiment is likely due to the fact that a third of the sector say that business from Northern Ireland and Britain is down this year, and there is an unease over the impact Brexit will have on business. While northern counties have seen growth overall, they have felt a larger decline in business from Great Britain than other locations and, as a result, have a less positive outlook going forward with just 11% expecting business to be up.

Buoyancy Amid Brexit Concerns

Speaking about the results of today’s Tourism Industry Barometer, Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly emphasised, “By and large, the picture so far this year being reported by businesses reflects the buoyant visitor numbers that we have seen in the CSO’s data, and what has been a record year for tourism. That said, if we take a closer look at how businesses are performing, it’s clear there are concerns brewing around the drop in business from Britain and Northern Ireland as well as the potential impact Brexit may have. While hotels are thriving, B&Bs are experiencing a more challenging year as they deal with a decline in visitors from the UK. Similarly, northern counties have been much more significantly impacted by the decline in the Northern Irish visitor market, and are certainly more exposed to any future challenges created by Brexit.

“While overall sentiment is healthy, it has dipped slightly compared to previous years, reminding us that despite current visitor numbers, and strong factors for the year ahead including growth in air and sea access, we can’t take future success for granted. That’s why, at Fáilte Ireland, we have a range of measures in place to help the industry adequately prepare for Brexit through programmes including 'Get Brexit Ready', as well as those focused on diversifying into other markets such as China and the Middle East, which are showing great growth potential in the coming years. We are also working closely with Government to roll out a further programme of supports to help the industry be on the front foot in dealing with the implications of losing visitors from our nearest overseas market. With joint measures like these, we can help to ensure that the industry continues to experience high levels of growth in the future.”

© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.