Almost three quarters (74%) of tourism businesses are upbeat about their 2014 business performance, according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer survey.
The survey of tourism businesses, carried out in August and September, records that business sentiment is at a level not seen since the Celtic Tiger years.
Commenting on today’s research, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said, “Business sentiment among the Tourism trade is buoyant and that’s no surprise as the industry is now experiencing growth in all sectors and throughout the country.
“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.”
“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.”
The recovery in tourism is now apparent across the country with all regions reporting strong accommodation sector increases on last year. The South West, in particular, has enjoyed an exceptional performance so far this year with 84% of respondents reporting business to be up on 2013. Many respondents in that region cited the recent Fáilte Ireland initiative, The Wild Atlantic Way, as a positive factor this year.
Dublin, which has been leading the recovery in tourism fortunes, continues to perform strongly and the Shannon region, where improvements at the local airport are mentioned as a positive factor, is also recording robust growth.
Other points to note from today’s 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% of respondents reporting an increase in visitors. However, 2014 has also proved to be a good year for guesthouses (69% report increased visitors) and B&Bs (60% are up).
- The overseas market has provided sharp increases for restaurants, with 72% of respondents reporting their overseas visitor volumes to be up on 2013.
- Decent summers and signs of improved economies – in Ireland and overseas – are fueling greater optimism among operators, with some beginning to reinvest in their own products.
- 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 be a draw for visitors and is strongly appreciated by operators and industry leaders.
- While the proportion is dropping, fuel and energy costs remain a concern for 58% of respondents. Low-priced competition and other operating costs also remain significant issues for some in the industry.