Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Time for the music sector’s tourism drive

Festivals and music events as much as the Rock of Cashel or the Guinness Storehouse are likely to attract tourists to Ireland

Music tourists come from far and wide

Fri, Oct 18, 2013, 09:50


Over the last couple of years, music tourism has become something you hear canny European festival promoters talking about at various industry gatherings. They know that being able to pull in music fans from outside the festival’s hinterland is a good thing for their bottom line – and can also help them tap funds from local and national tourism bodies.

Up to now, it has being hard to gauge the exact financial benefits of such initiatives. Occasionally, you’ll get some reports around the value of an individual event, but there have been few overall reports.

Step up VisitBritain and UK Music. They crunched the numbers to arrive at the fact that tourists going to concerts and festivals are worth £2.2 billion a year to the UK economy.

Between domestic tourists (those who travel three times the average commuting distance to an event) and visitors from overseas, the survey found that the 6.5 million tourists were responsible for 24,000 jobs a year. It’s a sizeable boost to the economy and one which makes you realise the value of the music tourism sector.

Here in Ireland, this has been the year of the festivals, thanks in part to The Gathering, which has super-accelerated the quantity of events. We assume that the relevant bodies are keeping track of the numbers and we’ll see a report in due course.

Anecdotal evidence shows that there’s a sizeable tourism pull to music festivals like the Electric Picnic, Body & Soul and Life, for instance. Many arts festivals up and down the country can also make similar claims.

It’s clear that the music tourism contribution to the tourism sector and overall economy is significant. Something for all involved to think about when it comes to marketing and promoting future events.