Dublin has begun showing some warning signs of over “over-tourism”, according to one expert.
Prof Jim Deegan, head of the centre for tourism policy studies at the University of Limerick, said on Friday that measuring the industry's environmental impact to ensure its sustainability would be key to its future development.
The academic, who was speaking as the university hosted its annual Tourism Policy Workshop programme at Dromoland Castle in Co Clare, noted that a recent European Parliament report on the industry showed its impact on the Republic's capital city.
“Dublin is showing some signs of over-tourism,” Prof Deegan said. He added that these included visitors staying in residential areas rather than city centre hotels. Other signs included a high number of holiday-makers relative to locals, a lack of hotel rooms, although he pointed out that the industry was tackling this, “tourists complaining about too many tourists” and gentrification, where visitors risked pricing out residents.
However, Prof Deegan stressed that “over-tourism” did not appear to be as much of a problem for Dublin as it was for other cities, which were trying to exclude particular types of visitors such as stag and hen parties.
Around 1.4 billion people now travel abroad around the world every year for holidays, the professor said. While this has brought big economic benefits to many regions, its environmental impact has largely been ignored up to now.
He said that tourism was responsible for around 5 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Transport, including flying and other forms of travel, accounts for about three-quarters of this.
He predicted that the industry would have to put a lot of effort into measuring the greenhouse gas it produces in coming years in order to get as close as possible to “net zero emissions”.