Sunday 16 December 2018

Ergo: Guinness puts its store in US tourists as Brits fall flat

The Guinness Storehouse set new records.
The Guinness Storehouse set new records.
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

In the summer of 2016, one of the first businesses to feel the cold wind of Brexit was the Guinness Storehouse. Although Diageo, which owns Guinness, never confirmed it, there was a sharp drop-off in UK visitor numbers in the immediate aftermath of the vote. So what did the Guinness Storehouse end-of-year figures for 2017 tell us?

The pull of the black stuff continues to be very, very strong and the final tally of 1.7 million tourists beat previous records - with growth in several markets including the US (+13pc), France (+8pc), and Canada (+5pc).

Small but fast-growing markets like China and Australia are also doing well. There was no mention of how the UK visitors performed but they did account for 26pc of visitors, which equates to just under 445,000 people. In 2016, UK visitors accounted for 27pc of the 1.647 million customers. This translates into just under 445,000, which means visitor numbers from the UK were pretty much flat year-on-year.

There are a couple of things to be read from this. One is that the UK market is holding quite steady despite the weaker currency. But also means reliance on the US market is growing. For many years, the Brits were the most important group heading to the Storehouse. Now it's Americans - they accounted for 28pc of visitors last year so as long as the Yanks keep coming, all is good at the country's number one visitor attraction.

O'Reilly leaves RTE with a smile after DG's send-off

Departures are nothing new out in RTE at the moment, but the most senior exit in late December was commercial director Willie O'Reilly. He took up the role in 2012, when Noel Curran was director general, and oversaw huge changes in how advertising is sold in Montrose. His send-off doubled as the RTE executive Christmas lunch in the swanky Luna restaurant on Drury Street and DG Dee Forbes presented him with a mock-up cover of The Phoenix magazine. The RTE copywriters were in flying form, coming up with several humorous headlines about his departure including 'Miriam: Genuinely I am hashtag #devastated' and 'RTE to become a registered charity'. Another read 'Noel Curran: Hello Willie, Geneva calling', a reference to Curran's plum job in the European Broadcasters Union (EBU). In fact I hear O'Reilly is looking forward to tuning out for a while after holding several high-profile roles in Irish broadcasting.



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