The Irish tourism industry had a bumper year in 2016 growing 11% and bringing in around€5.4 billion. However, the industry is set to become a victim of its own success, reports The Irish Times, with capacity issues meaning that growth in 2017 could be restricted to as little as 1%.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said that 2016 will be the “best year ever for overseas tourism to Ireland”. However, the caveat was that such growth could not be maintained due to “sustainablity issues” in Dublin and at the major tourist attractions.
Gibbons highlighted Titanic Belfast as a great success story. The museum had over three million visitors over the last four years. This helped power Northern Ireland to a sixth consecutive record year for visitor numbers.
In Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse was attracting record crowds with over 1.6 million visitors a year. Another key attraction was the the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare which had 1.2 million people. The “sustainability issue” followed naturally from such rapid growth, he said.
Irish Tourism and the Chinese
Tourism Ireland, which aims to promote tourism across the island of Ireland has a clear strategy. This is increase the number of high-spending tourists. Visitors from the USA and Australia tend to spend more time in the country and spend more while they are there.
Chinese tourists are key and in order to attract them, more Chinese-friendly information and tour guides will be made available. Although Gibbons thought that Brexit could possibly reduce the number of visitors from Britain, the North could benefit from the weak pound.