Tourism Ireland CEO Expects Irish Tourism Revenue Growth Will Slow Down In 2019
Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons has stated that he expects Irish tourism revenue growth to slow down significantly in 2019, and that hoteliers will likely find it difficult to pass on the 4.5% increase in the tourism sector VAT rate as a result of weaker demand growth.
The Irish Independent quotes Gibbons as saying, "Demand won't be increasing at the same rates as previous years - double digits, those days are gone."
"A Much More Mixed Batch Of Growth"
Gibbons also said that he anticipates that visitor numbers to Ireland will be adversely impacted by both Brexit's downward pressure on sterling and a boost in air capacity which has given European residents more access to warm destinations. He asserted, "We will see growth alright, but it's going to be a much more mixed batch of growth, we'll struggle to grow all our markets - that's the early indications that we have.
"The target is to grow revenue by 6%. That's going to be very tough now, there's no question about that. We just have to be really competitive."
Speaking about how the increase in the tourism sector VAT rate from 9% to 13.5% has affected tourism businesses and people who work in the industry, Gibbons said, "There are people who are more worried than others. The people who are most worried are those who are in rural areas, people who are in the food sector particularly who would have extremely tight margins. There's a sense, I suppose, of hurt within the industry. That's the feedback that we're getting.
"And what's going to happen now that we're into March is the VAT really takes hold, because now they're actually paying the VAT over."
Tourism Ireland Strategy
Commenting on Tourism Ireland's strategy for 2019, Gibbons said, "A lot of our strategy this year is about sustainability. It's about actually trying to grow the business in quarter one and quarter four when you've got good value around, you've got good air access, and you've still got capacity around at very good value."
© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.