THE NUMBER OF tourists coming to Ireland may have fallen but the good news is that they are finding us better value for money.
Failte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn said today that “the lower prices of the last two years are starting to influence overseas perceptions of Ireland with Failte Ireland research finding significantly improved value for money ratings in 2010″.
The tourism body is expecting those ratings to continue into 2011 but their report on tourism in Ireland, published today, makes for worrying reading. The overall earnings from tourism here fell by up to €4.6 billion, down 13 per cent compared to 2009. One bright spot on the horizon is the fact that although the number of overseas visitors fell, Irish people were still taking as many ‘staycations’ as they were in 2009.
The drop in visitors from overseas is stark. Tourists arriving from Britain fell by 18 per cent, those from North America fell by 9 per cent; mainland Europe by 17 per cent and from long-haul markets by 2 per cent.
Shaun Quinn also mentions the issue of ‘zombie hotels’ – insolvent hotels that have passed into receivership and being left open, causing excess capacity – which he said were potentially driving down rates in the accommodation sector to unsustainable levels.
Labour’s Mary Upton, spokesperson for tourism, claimed that Government inaction on a number of challenges facing the industry – including insolvent ‘zombie hotels’.