Tourism industry ‘hopeful’ growth in US numbers continues

Fáilte Ireland urges industry to seek more growth from continental Europe

Inbound tourism from the US reached an all-time record this year, up more than 15%  to almost 1.4m   over the first nine months

Inbound tourism from the US reached an all-time record this year, up more than 15% to almost 1.4m over the first nine months

 

Fáilte Ireland, the State tourism authority, will urge the industry to seek more business from continental Europe as the industry awaits the economic effects of the US election and Brexit.

Shaun Quinn, the outgoing chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, is expected to tell an Oireachtas tourism committee on Wednesday that Europe offers “more sustainable growth” for the Irish tourism industry over the medium term.

Mr Quinn, as well as Paul Gallagher, chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, were invited to address the committee on the industry fallout from Brexit, although the prospects for the US market are also likely to figure in the discussions following Trump’s victory.

Inbound tourism from the US reached an all-time record this year, up more than 15 per cent to almost 1.4 million over the first nine months. US tourists are also a lucrative source market, responsible for about a fifth of inbound tourists into Ireland but two-fifths of their expenditure.

More expensive

Speaking to The Irish Times following Mr Trump’s victory, Mr Quinn said he was still “hopeful” that growth from the US market continues into next year.

“US visitor numbers are growing and are now 70 per cent ahead of where they were in 2010 and we hope that continues... although we must accept that it is inextricably linked to the economics [ of the US].”

The outlook for the US market remains unclear, however, and will depend on the performance of the dollar as markets get to grips with what a Trump presidency may mean for trade. If the dollar weakens, Ireland will become more expensive for US tourists. US tourists have this year flocked to the country’s tourist attractions, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Dollar may weaken

Federal Reserve

Meanwhile, Mr Gallagher said he believed the effects on Irish tourism from Mr Trump’s election would be limited, although he also acknowledged that much would depend on the performance of the dollar.

“Our offering is compelling and the numbers are still showing strong growth. The US election will not have the same impact on Irish tourism that Brexit will have.”