Friday 21 October 2016

Brexit hitting tourism in Border counties

Greg Harkin

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

Irish Hotels Federation chair Paul Diver
Irish Hotels Federation chair Paul Diver

Brexit is now having a serious impact on tourism as visitors from the UK are abandoning plans to come on holiday here, hoteliers have warned.

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Paul Diver, chair of the Irish Hotels Federation branch in Co Donegal, says a "serious" decline in visitors from the North is hitting the trade.

He also claimed foreign tourists aren't going to the North West part of the Wild Atlantic Way and called for a special task force to find out why.

"They (foreign tourists) are going between Cork and Galway and only a fraction are continuing up through Mayo, Sligo and Donegal," he said.

"Our Northern Ireland business has evaporated. The weather hasn't helped recently but the fact is the Brexit vote has hit us hard.

"People were used to getting €1.35 for the pound and now they are barely getting €1.12 or €1.11."

Mr Diver, who runs the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, said visitors from the Republic were "the only saving grace" in a tough market.

"Our Republic of Ireland visitors are filling the void for now, particularly visitors from Dublin," he said. "Without them, the season would have been pretty bad for everyone.

"We are now seeing the real consequences of Brexit for Border counties and it's something which needs to be looked at.

"Tourism Ireland needs to do more to market our end of the Wild Atlantic Way. We'll need more foreign tourists in the west and north west to replace the lost business."

Tourism Ireland says it doesn't have visitor numbers yet for the regions but said foreign visitors are up 13pc nationally.

Irish Independent

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