Director of the National Centre for Tourism Policy Studies at the University of Limerick Professor Jim Deegan told attendees at the Annual Tourism Policy Workshop last weekend that tourism needs to be recognised as a priority area for research in order to ensure that the industry can handle the challenges it faces.
The Irish Times reports that Deegan stated visitor numbers and spending are already nearing 2025 targets, and that the State is benefiting from global tourism growth, which is projected to produce an additional 43 million holiday-makers annually worldwide until 2030.
Deegan asserted, "If that happens, we are going to face a really big challenge in how to move those people around and give them a good experience." He added that the fact that tourism isn't one of the 14 key research areas identified by the government as forming the basis of the State's future prosperity "needs to change."
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He further stated, "Demand is not our problem. Tourism is growing and it's going to keep growing." For that reason, Deegan believes that the industry needs to focus on infrastructure, attractions and accommodation.