Commenting on new figures published by the CSO for overseas arrivals to Ireland for January-July 2019, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, "[These] figures from the CSO indicate that overseas arrivals increased by 2.8% in the first seven months of 2019, around 170,600 more than in January-July 2018. However, the month of July has shown a continuing weak trend, with a fall of 0.5%.
"The figures for January to July indicate a very mixed picture, with a modest performance and some continuing underlying weakness from Britain (+0.5%) and mainland Europe (+2.2%), but with North America (+6.4%) and long-haul markets (+7.1%) showing growth so far this year. Feedback from industry partners on the ground suggests weaker demand in the peak summer season and a late booking pattern, with concern being expressed for the remainder of 2019.
"The summer air access picture has been positive, with 2.5% more seats available. However, air access capacity has deteriorated during the year, with the discontinuation of Norwegian flights from New York, Boston and Toronto, the suspension of the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing until 2020 and the cancellation of its service from Shenzhen, as well as the delayed delivery of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
"Brexit certainly remains a very real and ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern, particularly in Britain and some mainland European markets. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors, and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our industry colleagues."
Gibbons added, "Our €12 million autumn campaign is under way in markets across the world, highlighting compelling reasons to visit for the rest of the year. It aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for. Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a really good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening right around the island. A key objective for us is to drive more business to our regions, right throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months."
© 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.