Tuesday 27 September 2016

Most visitors say Ireland offers value for money, but there's a health warning...

Beware the 'cost creep'

Published 15/01/2016 | 07:08

Shoppers in Dublin. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Shoppers in Dublin. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Dublin City and Convention Centre. Photo: Deposit
Overseas visitors' value-for-money ratings in Ireland, 2009-2015. Source: Fáilte Ireland

Visitors believe value for money in Ireland has improved over the past six years, according to Fáilte Ireland.

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In 2009, just 38pc of overseas visitors rated value for money as "good", with 37pc rating it as "poor", according to a survey of travellers.

By 2015, the figures had flipped to 58pc rating value as "good" and 8pc rating it as "poor", the National Tourism Development Agency reports.

Michael Cawley, chairman of Fáilte Ireland, described the ratings as “encouraging" but said they "may require a health warning".

In particular, the upward trend in 2015 is likely to have been driven largely by British and US visitors' experience of favourable exchange rates.

These may mask "a growing underlying cost creep", Cawley said.

Overseas visitors' value-for-money ratings in Ireland, 2009-2015. Source: Fáilte Ireland
Overseas visitors' value-for-money ratings in Ireland, 2009-2015. Source: Fáilte Ireland

"In terms of our continuing competitiveness, we need to avoid complacency and remain vigilant regarding value so we are not suddenly caught out by any rapid movements in the currency markets,” he added.

The figures were issued at Fáilte Ireland's annual review and forecast, during which a €55 million tourism plan for 2016 was unveiled.

2015 was a record year for Irish tourism, but the agency cited a shortage of hotel rooms in Dublin, "modest" international awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way and the dominance of traditional tourism "honeypots" as challenges.

Irish tourism is still very much dependent on "benign external events" such as the sterling/euro exchange and international air access, Cawley said.

"The narrative could change very quickly."

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