Boost for economy as tourists flock to Republic in July

Figures follow warning that Dublin faces shortfall of 1,100 hotel rooms by 2020

The figure of 1,160,500 tourists indicated an overall increase of 129,000 compared to twelve months earlier.

The figure of 1,160,500 tourists indicated an overall increase of 129,000 compared to twelve months earlier.

 

The Republic received an economic boost last month as the total number of trips here by overseas residents increased by 12.5 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figure of 1,160,500 tourists indicated an overall increase of 129,000 compared to twelve months earlier. There were a total of 9 million trips to the Republic in 2017, represented 3.2 per cent annual growth on the previous year.

Trips by residents of the UK increased by 3.4 per cent to 353,300 in July, while trips by residents of European states other than the UK increased by 12.5 per cent to 422,800.

There was a significant spike in trips by residents of the United States and Canada, which was up by 24.5 per cent to 299,300, while trips to the Republic from other areas increased by 16.1 per cent to 85,200.

In the seven months to the end of July, the total number of trips to the Republic increased by 7.8 per cent when compared with the same period in 2017.

The figures come on the back of a warning from Failte Ireland this week that Dublin faces a shortfall of at least 1,100 hotel rooms by 2020, depriving the exchequer of tens of millions of euro.

Operating conditions in the Dublin hotel market remained “very strong” in 2017, albeit with decelerated annual growth in average daily rates (ADR) and revenues per available room (RevPAR), over the previous two years.

According to figures from hotel analysts STR, hotel occupancy grew by 0.8 per cent to a level of 83 per cent in 2017, while ADR and RevPAR grew by 7 per cent and almost 8 per cent respectively over the year, both to “historically unprecedented levels”.

In Co Limerick, the local authority has appointed global creative agency M&C Saatchi to create a new brand for the region that will “reflect its resurgence as a thriving economic and visitor destination”.

However, the increase in tourists was apparently not felt by Irish travel website Hostelworld, which recently said the unusually hot weather in Europe this summer led to a “softness” in bookings.

While tourists may be flocking to the Republic, the influx of tourists was not matched by Irish holidaymakers, with the total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during July down by 2.2 per cent to 905,400.

Overall, Irish residents’ trips overseas in the seven months to July increased by 3 per cent.

American Airlines this month announced it is to begin flying from Dublin to Dallas next summer, the first service from the capital to the Texan city. It is one of several US cities for which the travel trade believes there should be good demand from Irish tourists.

The CSO figures also show the total number of trips (Irish residents’ trips overseas plus trips to Ireland) in July increased by 5.6 per cent to 2,065,900 compared to twelve months earlier.