Wednesday 23 August 2017

British visits plummet 10pc as Brexit takes tourism toll

Overseas Travel

The glass walkway at Dublin's Terminal 2.
The glass walkway at Dublin's Terminal 2.
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

British visitor numbers to Ireland fell by 10.7pc, or 102,300 visits, from February to April of this year.

The figures were published today in the Central Statistics Office's latest Overseas Travel report, which covers the three-month period.

Overall overseas visitor numbers to Ireland remain static (up just 0.1pc) when compared to the same period last year, the report shows.

British visitors account for over 40pc of all visitors to Ireland, however, so the downward trend will be a cause for alarm in the industry.

Tourism Ireland has called the figures "a mixed picture".

"The challenge of Brexit is very real and the drop in visitor numbers for the period reflects that," said its CEO, Niall Gibbons.

Uncertain consumer sentiment and a fluctuating euro/sterling exchange rate have been flagged as the main reasons behind the dip.

In better news, both North America (+26pc) and 'Other European' visitors (+2.2pc) have risen over the February to April period.

Trips from 'Other Areas' rose 16.7pc, according to the CSO. Tourism Ireland has been working to diversify into all three categories for some time.

However, increases posted here are off a much lower base than the total number of British visits (855,800 from February to April).

"Competitiveness and the value for money message are more important than ever in Britain right now," Gibbons said.

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