74% of Irish tourism businesses are upbeat about their 2014 performance with business sentiment at a level not seen since 2007 according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer which was published today.
The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer is a survey of tourism businesses designed to provide insight into tourism performance for the year to date and prospects for the remainder of the season or coming year. It has been conducted regularly since 1999.
The survey of tourism businesses was carried out during August and September. The recovery in the tourism industry is now apparent across Ireland with all regions reporting strong increases on last year.
50% of restaurants report an increase in tourism custom on 2013. Overseas business is very strong, with 72% reporting an increase in customers. This is very positive news, as restaurants were hit particularly hard during the financial crisis. Dublin, which has been leading the recovery in tourism fortunes, continues to perform strongly and the South West has enjoyed an exceptional performance this year with 84% reporting business to be up on 2013.
The continued development and promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way is reaping benefits for the tourism industry in the west of Ireland. Around half (47%) in the West cite the Wild Atlantic Way as a positive, as do 43% in both the North West and the South West and 43% in the Shannon region. Comparatively only 6% in the South East, 4% in Dublin and 3% in the East and Midlands report the Wild Atlantic Way as a positive!
|Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland|
Commenting on today’s research, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “For now, tourism is back but this has been a very hard won recovery. It has taken a mixture of sacrifice and innovation by many operators – as well as far-sighted Government support for the sector – to make Ireland a competitive destination again. Fáilte Ireland initiatives such as ‘The Gathering’ and ‘The Wild Atlantic way’ have also strengthened our hand as we pitch for visitors from overseas.”
He added, “The danger now for tourism would be to allow complacency to creep back in. To sustain this year’s growth, we need to remain competitive, build on our appeal and continue to aggressively target those segments of our markets with the most potential”.
There is positivity among Hoteliers where own-marketing is the most mentioned positive factor, followed by repeat visitors. Irish people holidaying in Ireland is also cited as a positive factor by over half of hotels. Some hotels also cite that the retention of the 9% VAT rate is positively affecting their business this year while concerns over fuel and energy costs remain. Low-priced NAMA-owned competition was cited as bad for business and other operating costs remain significant issues for some in the industry.
Other points to note from today’s Failte Ireland survey of tourism businesses include:
• A strong majority (79%) of accommodation providers report an increase in visitor volumes so far this year, compared to the same period last year.
• As in previous years, hotels remain the strongest sector with 82% reporting an increase in visitors. However, 2014 has also proved to be a good year for guesthouses with 69% report increased visitors and B&Bs up by 60%.
• The overseas market has provided sharp increases for restaurants with 72% reporting their overseas visitor volumes to be up on 2013.
• So far this year, Germany, North America and to some extent Great Britain are becoming stronger markets and many also report greater volumes and spending within the domestic market.
• For those on the west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way continues to draw visitors and is strongly appreciated by operators along the route for helping develop new tourism businesses.
• For those not along the west coast they are keen to see something similar closer to their operations.
• Decent summers and signs of improved economies in Ireland and overseas are seeing operators becoming more optimistic, with some beginning to reinvest in their own products.
Read the full Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer report HERE