Tourism revenues down 13%


Earnings in the tourism sector fell back to 1998 levels last year, Fáilte Ireland has announced.

The sector generated revenues of €4.6 billion in 2010, down 13 per cent on the previous year.

The number of visitors to Ireland fell by 15 per cent to 5.6 million. The numbers arriving from the key British market showed an 18 per cent decline and the numbers travelling from mainland Europe fell by 17 per cent.

There was a 9 per cent drop in the number of North American’s coming to Ireland and other long-haul markets fell by 2 per cent. Spending on domestic holidays also declined last year.

Fáilte Ireland said profitability fell for most accommodation providers last year, with two out of three hotels, three quarters of guesthouses and four out of five B&Bs reporting lower turnover.

Fáilte Ireland said the industry had walked a tightrope last year but it was hopeful it could recover this year.

“There are some favourable factors now coming into play for us,”Failte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said.

“Our own falling prices, the recent cut in the Air Tax, the rise in VAT in the UK and the growing strength of sterling to the euro all combine to make Ireland an even more attractive and accessible option for potential British visitors.”

Mr Quinn said most tourism enterprises were relatively optimistic regarding their business prospects for this year, with approximately three in five expecting to maintain or grow their business.