HomeNewsIrish Tourism Recovery On Track, but ITIC Warns of Challenges Ahead

Irish Tourism Recovery On Track, but ITIC Warns of Challenges Ahead

The health of the Irish tourism sector continues to improve, but there remains concern about the pace of its recovery beyond the traditional summer season, the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has warned.

ITIC’s latest monthly ‘tourism dashboard’ – covering May – shows that the sector’s performance is continuing to improve and beginning to closer resemble pre-pandemic levels. Total visitor numbers to Ireland, last month, were down by just 15% compared to the same month in 2019, which was the last normal year for the industry before the Covid crisis struck.

For the year to date, visitor numbers are down 30% on 2019 levels.

May’s figures showed arrivals from continental Europe performed strongest, with a 13% decline on 2019, while the key North American market also showed improvement with 220,000 visitor arrivals.

But, ITIC has flagged concern over the recovery’s sustainability, citing a shortage of accommodation and car hire as huge risks to tourism visitor numbers and “unprecedented” levels of business cost inflation.

“The May data shows momentum building in terms of tourism’s recovery. However, supply shortages in accommodation, car hire and labour will restrict growth over the peak summer months,” ITIC chief executive Eoghan O’Mara Walsh warned.

ITIC chief executive Eoghan O’Mara Walsh

An estimated 15% of tourism accommodation stock has been contracted by the Government for Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers.

“Pent-up demand, as well deferred bookings, are giving us a strong boost this year, but 2023 is looking far less certain as inflation and interest rate increases bite,” Mr O’Mara Walsh said.

He said Irish tourism must ensure it retains its value for money proposition.

ITIC has also urged the Government to continue with its pro-tourism policies and to commit to maintaining tourism investment in October’s budget.

“Pre-pandemic tourism was the country’s largest indigenous industry, its biggest regional employer and a massive net contributor to the exchequer and it is vital that the sector returns to sustainable growth,” said ITIC chairperson Elaina Fitzgerald Kane.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
I have worked in journalism for more than 25 years. I am joining ITTN from The Irish Examiner, having worked there for the past 16 years as a senior business reporter. I have also contributed to, and written for, the likes of Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune, amongst others titles.

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