The latest figures show that there are shoots of recovery in the Irish tourism industry, with an increase in overseas visitors in Quarter 2. This is really welcome news after the doom and gloom in the sector over the past few years.
The statisics from the survey show that there has been a 9% increase in visitors from overseas to the Republic of Ireland and a further 4% to Northern Ireland. The figures show that all key markets have shown a welcome increase. UK visitors have increased by 7%, there has been a 12% increase from the US and a 10% jump from mainland Europe. The rest of the world showed a modest 5% increase.
In terms of accommodation categories, hotels in Ireland overall had a good quarter from April to June, with a 15% average increase in visitors. Not only is it through domestic tourism, but mainland Europe and the USA are contributing to the increase.
But the figures suggest that the Self Catering sector is not performing to hotel levels. Demand from the UK is tending to be weaker and the lead time for bookings is a lot shorter than before.
Getting the UK market up to pre recession levels is easier said than done, but this is the challenge facing Irish tourism. A modest increase in the 2nd quarter of 2011 is a good start. However, the lack of consumer confidence and economic stagnation in the UK economy makes growth predictions from this market impossible to predict.
In terms of arrival destination carrier points, Dublin Airport is having a good year with figures for passengers up by 7%. However it is noted that Regional airports are struggling. Airport figures will have risen in comparison anyway compared to 2010 because of the ash cloud crisis.
There is a hopeful outlook for tourism - with an estimated increase in tourists worldwide from 4-5% in the European markets. However this is all dependent on the economic situation, and the disposable income on offer for consumers. The key for Irish tourist businesses is simple – remain keenly competitive in pricing and strategy.
Are you a tourism provider? Have you seen an increase in tourism business compared to 2010? We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know your thoughts.