Friday 14 December 2018

'Staycation' bounce for tourism sector as heatwave falters

People enjoy the weather at Portmarnock Beach. The good weather is set to continue well into next week. Photo: Garrett White/Collins Photo Agency
People enjoy the weather at Portmarnock Beach. The good weather is set to continue well into next week. Photo: Garrett White/Collins Photo Agency

Ralph Riegel

Ireland's hotel, food and drinks industries are revelling in a heatwave bounce thanks to the glorious summer.

The near-record temperatures and sunshine have persuaded tens of thousands of Irish families and couples to enjoy a 'staycation' - opting for short breaks in Ireland rather than a second overseas holiday.

Vintners and hoteliers are savouring a reported 10pc hike in bookings and sales thanks to 'staycationing' Irish families.

Padraig Cribben, of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said the heatwave, combined with the World Cup, had been very good for business.

"People are out, they are in good form and they are much more likely to spend a bit extra whether it is on a meal or a few drinks," he said.

However, there have been mixed blessings for the hotel and restaurant sectors.

The sun-fuelled passion for picnics, barbecues and salads in the fine weather has hit sales of more traditional hot foods, with some urban restaurants reporting sales being slightly down.

The exceptions have been restaurants and cafés with on-street and garden dining or those in coastal and tourist areas where business is substantially up on 2017.

Ice cream sales have soared by 12pc, while Irish butchers and supermarkets revealed that sales of barbecue meats have increased by 10pc.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said there had been a surge in domestic business, and foreign tourists are spending more or extending holidays.

"There certainly has been an increase in discretionary spending," it said.

Micheal McVann, of CarePlus Pharmacy, revealed that sales of sunscreen have soared by 147pc since the hot weather began.

Sales of fake tan have soared by 50pc.

Meanwhile, Irish holidaymakers and householders have been told to keep the sunscreen and bathing trunks in use but to have their hats and brollies at the ready as Ireland's heatwave is set to be threatened by a weakening high pressure zone and looming rainfall.

The fine weather is set to continue for the next week, but is now increasingly being threatened by sporadic Atlantic showers.

Met Éireann warned that parts of Ireland will see scattered showers from tomorrow, some of which may be quite heavy, with the north and west most likely to see rain.

After more than three weeks of a record-breaking heatwave, Met Éireann signalled that the high pressure zone responsible for the soaring temperatures and glorious sunshine is slowly beginning to lose strength.

"The high pressure will gradually weaken allowing some showers to break out at times," a Met Éireann spokesperson said.

"Wednesday and Thursday will see showers, some of which may be locally heavy, with a good deal of dry weather on Friday though a few showers are likely in the south and east."

However, most parts of Ireland will still enjoy good sunshine until Sunday, though temperatures will fall considerably from the 28C to 32C that had Ireland resembling parts of the Mediterranean.

Friday will see the best of the weather this week with potential highs of 26C. Sunday will see temperatures in some parts of the west and north struggling to go above 18C.

However, the rainfall will not result in any lifting of forest fire warnings by Coillte or hosepipe bans by Irish Water.

Irish Independent

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