Tourist numbers decline on Brexit woes

Fewer travellers came to the Republic in August compared to the same month in 2018

Fewer tourists travelled to the Republic in August this year than in the same month in 2018. This is down to a reduction in British tourist numbers, figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

As sterling has weakened against the euro, travel to the Republic has become more expensive for UK tourists since the 2016 Brexit vote.

In August, 2.7 per cent fewer tourists came here, with the total number of trips standing at 393,000.

"Today's CSO figures for tourism confirm a decline in arrival numbers that has been felt for some time by Ireland's tourism industry," the chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Eoghan O'Mara Walsh, said.


August marked the third month of decline in the past four when compared to 2018, and Mr O’Mara Walsh noted that Brexit uncertainty, when coupled with the Government’s VAT rate increase, has challenged the sector this year.

"Tourism is in the front line of Brexit, and more investment by the Government is badly needed to support regional Ireland. State investment in tourism is only now at 2008 levels – that is a long decade of under-investment and must be corrected urgently."

Separately, Fáilte Ireland recently estimated that a no-deal Brexit could wipe out about €380 million in tourism revenues and result in the loss of up to 10,000 tourism jobs.

In August, 1.19 million overseas trips were taken to the Republic, a fall of 11,500 on the same month in 2018, while trips by residents of European countries other than Britain increased by just 0.2 per cent to 427,900.

Trips by residents of the US and Canada fell by 1.5 per cent to 282,500.

Irish tourists were much more willing to travel in the month, with 973,600 taking a trip overseas, an increase of 11.9 per cent on August 2018.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business