Domestic Tourism: The Island that Keeps on Giving

28 July 2017

Domestic tourism is a core component of tourism in Ireland. Over half of all domestic trips taken annually are holiday trips and Irish people take more domestic holiday trips each year than outbound holiday trips. The domestic market, therefore, is crucial for the overall viability of the tourism industry here in Ireland. It provides an opportunity to extend the season and deliver additional business that is more regionally dispersed which not only drives increased revenues but also helps grow employment in the sector.

Arguably, domestic tourism is one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors and has significant potential to play a further role in Ireland’s economic renewal. For many tourism businesses, domestic visitors provide the bedrock which allows them to remain open beyond the summer season and trade all year round. This is particularly important in terms of generating activity and jobs in many rural regions, in particular the South East of Ireland.

South East of Ireland – Irelands Ancient East

The South East of Ireland, hit hardest by the economic downturn, fondly referred to as the 'Sunny South East', is the region famous for its vibrant towns, rural getaways and coastal villages and resorts. The importance of the domestic market is crucial to the tourism industry in the South East of Ireland, not only in terms of revenue but also by providing an opportunity to extend the season and deliver additional business in Spring and Autumn.
With Ireland’s Ancient East up and running, Tourism Ireland are able to provide and promote compelling and exciting choices for domestic holiday makers. This year, and beyond, they will continue to promote domestic growth. In doing so, they can deliver a stronger and longer tourism season ensuring greater revenue and extra employment throughout the country and all year round.

Tourism Ireland have also teamed up with Irish Ferries to promote its Pembroke to Rosslare ferry service. A joint campaign, supported by Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny County Councils. As well as highlighting attractive fares and ease of access, Tourism Ireland are encouraging potential visitors to “Drive Through History, reminding them that “there’s 5,000 years of history to explore in Ireland’s Ancient East.

The aim is to boost car touring visitor numbers to the South East and Ireland this summer; visitors who bring their car here on holidays tend to stay longer, spend more and are more likely to visit more than one region.

Brexit, will Irish tourism be affexit?

The Northern Irish market is an important leisure market segment for the border counties, with hotels in these areas reporting strong business from Northern Ireland, particularly with the strength of Sterling over the last couple of years. The recent decline in Sterling against the Euro is being felt and a severe drop in Sterling would undoubtedly have an impact on the hotel industry, not only in the border counties but in the Irish economy in general as the Euro currency would represent less value for money.

While the UK market is important to Ireland from a tourism perspective, there has been positive growth in other market areas, which deliver a higher spend per person. 

The tourism industry in Ireland is now worth a huge €8 billion, and has potential to grow despite "challenges" in 2017 like Brexit. Ireland’s tourism performance has encountered periods of growth and decline, with wider political and economic trends at home and overseas significantly influencing overseas visitor numbers in each decade.

The Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) has called for a €24m war chest to help combat the effects of Brexit. The funding should be used for international and domestic tourism marketing over the next three years which will be critical for tourism to be “Brexit-ready”. Continued growth is a priority for the tourism industry but that without specific actions now, Ireland would do well to maintain current levels of growth.

Final note:

Ireland is well positioned in the domestic and international marketplace to continue to attract growing numbers of visitors thanks to its strong brand positioning and its success in delivering a highly rated satisfying visitor experience.

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