Friday 28 October 2016

Business travellers bet on Ireland escaping Brexit fallout

Sean Duffy

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

The findings reveal that 41pc of respondents said that they did not foresee Brexit having a negative impact. Stock image
The findings reveal that 41pc of respondents said that they did not foresee Brexit having a negative impact. Stock image

The effect on Ireland of the Brexit referendum may not be as bad as first feared, according to a survey of foreign business travellers to Ireland.

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The survey, carried out by Europcar, asked 500 business travellers a range of questions about their view on Ireland in the wake of the UK referendum.

The findings reveal that 41pc of respondents said that they did not foresee Brexit having a negative impact.

The survey also shows that just 8pc believed it would adversely affect their dealings here.

A level of lingering uncertainty was reflected by the answers of 46pc of respondents, who stated that they did now know how the Brexit vote was likely to impact on their business in Ireland.

Policy makers will be pleased to learn that over half (52pc) of those questioned believed that Ireland will become an increasingly attractive place for multinationals to do business as a result of Britain's decision to leave the EU.

Ireland's low corporation tax is also seen as a significant boon for the economy, with 55pc of respondents saying that Ireland's low tax regime would boost the country's appeal to multinational firms.

Only one in ten said they believed Ireland would become less attractive for international companies.

The survey found that 73pc of all business professionals coming to Ireland arrive from the UK, with a total of 21pc coming from the US, France and Germany.

The general sentiment towards the country's economy is positive, with 72pc of people saying the economy was performing "reasonably well".

One tenth of respondents said they believe the economy is performing "very well".

The importance of the tech industry in attracting visitors is underlined by the fact that 19pc of all business tourists come from the sector. Healthcare attracts 10pc of visitors, while the pharmaceutical industry attracted 9pc of business tourists.

One third of respondents said they do business regularly in Ireland with the majority of trips occurring over a two to three-day period.

Ireland's increasing attractiveness as a destination for industry seminars was also revealed in the survey findings, with 12pc of people saying they came to attend conferences.

The quality of the Irish labour force is emphasised by the fact that 69pc of those surveyed said they thought the Irish workforce was "very good" or "excellent". Just 2pc of respondents believe that the workforce here is poor.

Ireland's growing reputation as an innovative business hub is highlighted by the fact that 14pc said they were visiting the country to pursue a new business venture.

Foreign SMEs are the most likely visitors to Ireland, with SME employees representing 30pc of all those questioned.

That was followed closely by employees of large scale plcs, who accounted for 29pc of visitors.

More than one third of people said they spent more than €1,000 on their visits, while a quarter of visitors spent between €250 and €500.

The survey found that the integrity of Irish business people was viewed as the best trait by foreign business people, with 40pc saying they felt that was the characteristic they liked most about the Irish.

Innovation and problem-solving skills were also attributes which foreigners recognised in their Irish counterparts.

Irish Independent

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