Summer tourism forecast as disaster as cloud threat to Ireland grows

Irish Tourism in crisis as volcano continues to erupt

The Irish National Meteorological Service has warned that disruption to travel in Ireland will continue over the coming days as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano continues to erupt.

The constant disruptions to air travel could seriously damage the industry warned tourism chiefs.

Mary Hanafin, Irish Minister for Tourism, has called a meeting with tourism bosses to discuss the crisis and to outline a code of conduct for passengers who become stranded in Ireland.

She has categorically ruled out that any tourism operators will be compensated for their losses during this natural disaster.
Those in the tourism industry have calculated that up to $13 million is being lost in the Irish Tourism Industry every day as almost 18,000 visitors are unable to land.

"We estimate about 17,700 visitors, a day, are being lost at a cost of $13 million for every day airspace is closed. That's accommodation and food and drink, the day-to-day costs" said a spokesperson from Tourism Ireland.

"People are cancelling from everywhere. We already had a 13pc decline (in numbers) last year. About 7.6 million visited in 2009. As you get more into the high season you get more visitors. It's just so uncertain at the moment."


Abbey Tours, a well established tour company, said that since the volcano erupted a last month over 1,000 customers have cancelled their trips.

What will happen next is still uncertain.

Reports for the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Eyjafjallajokull continued to spew hundreds of tons of ash a minute into the atmosphere. They said that although the amounts were decreasing there was no sign of it stopping.

Joan Blackburn, a national weather forecaster in Ireland, has said that the next couple of days will be a “danger period”. It is hoped that as the wind changes direction the cloud could clear Ireland before the weekend.

She said “It looks like it (the plume) might be back over us," she said. "Our winds are still north-easterly and will become more northerly.

"Over the next few days, the basic wind patterns aren't good. They're going to be more northerly. The danger period would be Monday and Tuesday. It's hanging around for the following few days close to Ireland, but there will be some improvement later in the week and closer to next weekend."

The IAA said that passengers planning to travel by air over the coming days should regularly check their airline websites and the IAA website in advance of going to the airport.
 

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