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03.03.2013

2012 TOUGH YEAR FOR TOURISM BUT SEEDS NOW SOWN FOR PERIOD OF GROWTH

Irish Hotels Federation Annual Report

 

  • A marginal increase of just 0.2% in overseas visitors recorded in 2012
  • Visitors numbers from Britain drop by 100,000
  • More ambitious targets needed to turn British market around

 

Sunday, 3rd March 2013: Irish tourism has experienced some optimistic signals, with hotels and guesthouses across many parts of the country reporting increased occupancy levels in 2012. Speaking on the eve of the Irish Hotels Federation’s (IHF) 75th two-day Annual Conference in Killarney, Tim Fenn, Chief Executive stated that a very marginal increase of just 0.2% in overseas visitors was recorded and that a lot needs to be done to address the persistently difficult British market if real and lasting recovery is to be achieved.

 

Turning the British market around remains the single biggest challenge facing the sector, with the market having experienced a fall of one million (over 30%) in annual visitor numbers since 2007.  Mr Fenn states: "A further drop of 100,000 in British visitors last year, bring the total to 2.7 million, is a stark reminder of the amount of ground lost since 2007 and the urgent need to reinvigorate our most important tourism market. In 2011 we saw a 3% increase in visitors from this market, but the further decline in 2012 represents very much a case of one step forward and two back.“

 

“The target of an additional 200,000 visitors per annum from the UK by 2016 is clearly not ambitious enough given low based we’re working from. A more aggressive approach needs to be adopted with campaigns aimed at attracting a greater spread of visitors to the regions and promoting specific reasons to visit – whether activity-based or focusing on heritage and culture,” says Mr Fenn. “When people think of holidaying in Ireland, the image should be of a fun and vibrant destination – blessed with a wealth of scenic attractions, steeped in history and culture and offering a warm and friendly welcome. The key challenge lies in getting our marketing message right and giving holidaymakers new and compelling reasons to visit Ireland”

 

Encouragingly, a 3% increase in visitors was recorded from North America last year. Mr Fenn states: “An excellent example of the type of initiative that works exceptionally well is the Emerald Isle Classic American football game held in Dublin last year. This saw thousands of Americans travel to Ireland, contributing greatly to tourism. ”

 

In 2012, overall tourism revenue across the sector remained stagnant at €5.7 billion. Revenues were made up of €4 billion from foreign exchange earnings and €1.73 billion from the domestic market, which experienced a 5% decline on revenue year-on-year. The dependence on the home market continued in 2012, with 70% of hotel bed nights coming from island of Ireland.

 

National room occupancy levels improved significantly in 2012 standing at 61% compared with 56% in 2011. This increase was due to a contraction in capacity and the majority of bednights being offered at great value deal rates and very low margins.

 

2012 Room Occupancy Levels:

·        Dublin: 73%, (2011: 64%)

·        East and Midlands: 45%, (2011: 40%)

·        South East: 60%, (2011: 55%)

·        South West: 60%, (2011: 60%)

·        Shannon: 48%, (2011: 51%)

·        West: 63%, (2011: 57%)

·        North West: 53%, (2011: 48%)

 

Notwithstanding the downturn, tourism remains Ireland's most important indigenous industry and a critical component of the export economy. Tourism accounts for almost 4% of gross national product and brought in €4 billion in foreign exchange earnings last year. Tourism provides an estimated 196,000 jobs (directly and indirectly), equivalent to 11 per cent of total employment in the country - of which 54,000 are employed in the hotels sector across every village, town and city.

 

 

Breakdown of Overseas Visitor Numbers

 

MARKET

2012

2011

Change on

 

 

 

previous year

Trips from Overseas

6.52 million

6.51 million

0.2% increase

Britain

2.77 million

2.88 million

-3.6% decrease

Mainland Europe

2.35 million

2.28 million

2.8% increase

North America

1.02 million

0.99 million

3% increase

 

ENDS

 

FOR INFORMATION:

Siobhan Molloy/Eoin Quinn                        

Weber Shandwick PR                                     Mob: 086 817 50 66/087 233 2191

 

HOTEL & GUESTHOUSE STATISTICS

 

75th IHF ANNUAL CONFERENCE

 

Monday 4th & Tuesday 5th March 2013

 

  • 6.52 million overseas visitors in 2012, 0.2% increase on 2011 (6.51 million);
  • Tourism accounts for almost 4% GNP;
  • Total tourism revenue of €5.73 billion – no change on 2011;
  • €4 billion foreign exchange earnings in 2012 compared with €3.9 billion in 2011;
  • 835 hotels (856 in 2011) with 57,362 bedrooms (57,859 bedrooms in 2011);
  • 235 guesthouses (264 in 2011) with 3,119 bedrooms (3,249 in 2011);
  • Total of 60,481 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland. (61,108 in 2011)

 

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