23 Oct 2017 | 12.28 pm
Sentiment Softens In Tourism Sector
Confidence at lowest level in four years
23 Oct 2017 | 12.28 pm
A Fáilte Ireland tourism survey shows that businesses in the industry are at their least optimistic since recovery in the sector began four years ago, with a decline in numbers of visitors from Northern Ireland and from Britain giving rise to uncertainty about future trends.
The agency’s Tourism Barometer shows that the sector is performing well this year, despite pessimism over Brexit and the Trump effect, with two thirds of businesses receiving more visitors than the same period last year. The strength of the North American market is a significant factor.
Guesthouses are also enjoying a good year, with about half experiencing increased visitor levels. The German market is performing very well for them — about three in five guesthouses have had more German visitors this year.
B&Bs are also up: 44% have had more visitors to date this year with a further 35% holding steady. As with guesthouses, the strength of the German market is key, with well over half of B&Bs receiving more German visitors.
Chief executive Paul Kelly said: “Tourism performance in general is still robust but Brexit is having an impact. On a national level, losses from the British market are being compensated for by strong performances in American and other markets. However, for those regions that are heavily reliant on British and Northern Irish tourists, this offers little consolation and Brexit is already making a real impact in many counties.”
Positive sentiment was highest in 2016 at 72% ‘up’, but that figure has fallen to 57% now with negative sentiment twice what it was in 2015, at 15% of respondents in the TI survey.
Half of providers surveyed are reporting British business down and two in five have experienced a drop in Northern Irish tourists. The proportion of those businesses impacted rises in northern counties — Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan and Sligo — which are most exposed to those markets.
About two thirds of accommodation businesses in northern counties say they have been affected by the sterling exchange rate this year, as compared to a lower proportion (44%) in the rest of the country. The barometer also shows that 58% of Dublin providers are also affected by sterling.