Hoteliers Welcome Massive Increase in US Visitor Numbers


·      The Gathering effect is clearly evident with stellar year expected for North America

·      Three-tier market now exists across Irish hotels and guesthouse sector

·      Disappointing results for the UK market a serious concern


The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today welcomed the 4.2% increase in overseas visitors to Ireland during the second quarter, saying it has provided a significant boost for the tourism industry. Commenting on the 14.8% increase in visitors from the US, IHF President Michael Vaughan said: “The Gathering effect is clearly evident in the massive increase in North American visitors and we expect this market to have a stellar performance this year.”


Mr Vaughan said that Ireland is now experiencing a three-tier market with key urban centres such as Dublin, Cork and Galway doing very well; traditional tourist town seeing modest increases; and many rural tourism spots still struggling to attract overseas visitors. 


The recent good weather has provided a much-needed lift, particularly for regional tourism: “Hotels and guesthouses throughout the country have benefited greatly from the sunny weather and the good mood it created among Irish consumers. It has also encouraged overseas visitors staying in the cities to travel around the country and this greatly benefits tourism businesses in the regions.”


Commenting on the disappointing results from the UK market, Mr Vaughan expressed serious concern at the lack of progress in turning around our largest market, which saw a drop 1.1% in the second quarter - a reminder of the amount of ground lost since the economic downturn with the UK market having experienced a fall of one million (over 30%) in annual visitor numbers since 2007.  


“The domestic market is also a serious concern for the industry with many hotels in rural areas continuing to suffer from struggling domestic demand. The sharp contraction in consumer spending so far this year has put significant pressure on hotels outside of the larger urban areas and main holiday hotspots,” he says. “Holidaymakers from the island of Ireland make up 70 per cent of overall business in hotels and guesthouses with tourism businesses in rural areas very sensitive to consumer demand at home.”


Mr Vaughan notes that the Government’s decision to reduce tourism VAT to 9% has provided a vital stimulus for the sectors, acting as a key competitive advantage when marketing Ireland as a tourism destination abroad and supporting struggling domestic demand, which is by far the largest source of revenue for many rural hotels.  





Eoin Quinn                                                          Dublin office: 01 6760168

Weber Shandwick                                           Mobile: 087 233 2191 / 086 817 5066




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