THE Irish tourism sector has turned the corner and is at its most positive since the bust in 2008, according to a survey of business sentiment in the industry.
The survey of over 750 different tourism businesses for Failte Ireland - carried out throughout September and before the recent budget announcements - shows business sentiment at a height not seen since the boom years.
Two in three (65%) of serviced accommodation operators reported increased visitor numbers and encouragingly for the first time since the start of the financial crisis, all three serviced accommodation sectors report that visitor numbers are significantly up – hotels (68%), guesthouses (58%) and B&Bs (46%).
The good weather also provided a significant boost this year.
Welcoming the findings of today’s report, Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism today pointed out:
“This Government’s has put tourism front and centre of our recovery from the start. The recent Budget maintains the VAT rate at 9% and also reduced the air travel tax to €0.
"So I am delighted to see that sentiment in the industry is so high. We have seen very significant growth in jobs, revenue and visitor numbers over the last couple of years, and the Budget measures will build on that momentum and help the industry to remain competitive and provide good value.
"The extra funding for Fáilte Ireland’s flagship tourism route, the Wild Atlantic Way, will also help tourism businesses, particularly along the western seaboard.”
Other findings include:
*Expectations for the remainder of the year are high, with nine out of ten of accommodation businesses expecting the same or increased visitor volumes;
*Attractions have performed well with eight out of ten reporting increased or similar visitor volumes as last year – almost 50% of them have welcomed more visitors;
*While profit margins have been under pressure for some time, this year it appears that more hotels are returning to profit;
*Over half (58%) of restaurant respondents are reporting an increase in tourist business;
*B&B Ireland members have seen a 27% increase in revenue from North American visitors;
*52% of self-catering operators reporting increased visitors;
*Caravan and Campsites have benefitted significantly from the fine weather with two in three (67%) reporting increased visitor levels.