Fáilte Ireland plans to restore tourism growth in 2020 with a multi-faceted programme of investment, promotion and training.
Paul Kelly, ceo, said yesterday that tourism numbers in 2019 are likely to be about 1.1% lower than in 2019. Overseas visitor numbers will be level with last year but domestic and NI numbers are down by 2%. Following phenomenal growth of 9% in 2018, tourism revenue this year will fall by around 2%. Factors contributing to the decline include shorter corporate trips and reduced spending by arrivals visiting friends and family, probably due to more in this category arriving from Eastern Europe. An increase in available beds has also dampened rates in some areas.
Tourism projections for 2020 come with a ’Health Warning’, Paul Kelly said, because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Failte Ireland is helping the industry to be ‘Brexit ready’ to meet challenges which will include a weak sterling. This will impact British people travelling abroad particularly the second or third short break, which is often taken in Ireland. People living in some European countries are anxious about travelling to Ireland until the Brexit process reaches a conclusion while visitors from the Far East, who usually arrive on UK and Ireland pckages, may spend fewer nights of their vacation in Ireland.
Reflecting on 2019, Paul Kelly said that is has been ‘a much more mixed year for the tourism industry and as we face into 2020, we’re looking at a challenging year. Our latest research shows that business sentiment is down, fuelled by rising costs and low-priced competition in the sector. More than half of tourism businesses around the country have seen a decline in business from Britain and Northern Ireland but, while the threats are real, so too are the opportunities.’