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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Pubs and restaurants depend more on UK tourists than any other country, study finds

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Shawn Pogatchnik

Pubs and restaurants are more dependent on tourism from the UK than any other country, according to new research

The study also found that the recent decline of British visitors to Ireland raises wider questions about protecting the hospitality sector.

Researchers, commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, quizzed 500 DIGI members and 1,000 Irish consumers as part of its report “Building a Sustainable Drinks and Hospitality Sector,” authored by DCU economist Anthony Foley and published today.

Among the findings: 51pc of Irish people bring foreign visitors to their local pub and 64pc to local restaurants.

Some 57pc of surveyed publicans and 44pc of restaurateurs identified UK visitors as most important for their business, while just 18pc and 17pc, respectively, identified American visitors as most valuable.

It cited this month’s Central Statistics Office report that tourist traffic from the UK slumped by 4.4pc in May versus the year before.

The report’s underlying aim was to argue in favour or reductions in VAT and excise and alcoholic beverages to support trade, particularly in pubs, in the Government’s coming two budgets as one way to bolster pubs and restaurants against feared lower trade following Brexit.

It found that the number of pubs nationwide declined to 7,072 in 2018, down nearly 18pc from 2005 – a loss experienced almost entirely outside Dublin. While the capital’s number of pubs fell by only 10 to 776 over the 13-year period, the rest of Ireland saw nearly 20pc of its pubs close, leaving 6,296 open in 2018.

And nearly half of all the nation’s pubs appeared in a weak commercial position, the report argued, with annual sales below €200,000. It said 10pc of publicans planned to cut staff this year because of sluggish turnover.

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