General Industry

Tourism Ireland Reacts To New Overseas Visitor Figures For January-August 2019

By Dave Simpson
Tourism Ireland Reacts To New Overseas Visitor Figures For January-August 2019

Commenting on new figures published by the CSO for overseas arrivals to Ireland for January to August 2019, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said, "[These] figures from the CSO indicate that overseas arrivals increased by 2.2% in the first eight months of 2019, around 159,100 more than in January-August 2018. However, the month of August alone has shown a continuing weak trend, with a fall of 1%.

"The figures for January to August indicate a very mixed picture, with arrivals from Britain flat (0%), a modest performance from mainland Europe (almost +2%), and with arrivals from North America up 5% and from long-haul markets up 6.6%. However, North America is showing a weaker pattern as the year unfolds, down 1.5% for the month of August.

"A Continuing Weak Trend" And Reduced Air Access

Gibbons continued, "The figures underline a continuing weak trend, and reflect feedback from industry partners on the ground who have been experiencing weaker demand and have expressed concern for the remainder of 2019 and beyond. The uncertainty around Brexit is an ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern 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 source markets. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our industry colleagues.

"Air access capacity (+2.5% for summer 2019) 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. Air access capacity will continue to weaken into the winter months."

Autumn Campaign

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."

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