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Fáilte Ireland has found that the weather, not Brexit, was the biggest cloud affecting Irish tourism at the start of the year.

But its latest Tourism Barometer of over 500 tourism businesses reveals that most  are confident of attracting more visitors for the remainder of the year. This is especially true in the accommodation sector, where two-thirds expect increased visitors compared to 2017.

And the Brexit blues are easing – in 2017, the decline in the British market was more noticeable in Dublin than the rest of the country. However, the survey found that the inbound British market has now picked up significantly, and its performance is now positive on balance (+2pts compared to -48pts in Dec 17). Border counties are also more confident, attracting visitors from other countries, not just Britain, or tourists from the North.

Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive Paul Kelly said: “It’s clear that the industry felt that poor weather conditions affected their businesses in the first quarter of the year. What is striking about this report, however, is how upbeat the industry is about the year ahead. It indicates that for many individual businesses, advance bookings must be very good and prospects for the year ahead are particularly strong in the accommodation sector.”

Paul Kelly, head of Fáilte Ireland

Paul Kelly, head of Fáilte Ireland

Commenting on the impact Brexit is having on Northern counties, he added: “Things have improved in the Northern counties, compared to our last Barometer in December 2017, which showed that businesses in the region were being significantly impacted by Brexit. While businesses in border counties are reporting Northern Ireland business to be down, their overall performance is up on balance.

“This would suggest some diversification in visitor markets for those regions – something which has been a central component of our ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme.”

  • Key points: 
  • Poor weather hit the caravan and campsite area, with almost a half seeing a decrease in visitors during the first quarter of this year. And over half of golf clubs reported a fall in visitors as a result of the weather.
  • The paid serviced accommodation (PSA) sector – including hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs – has had a strong start to 2018, with 48pc receiving more visitors to date than the same period last year. A further 29pc have received the same level.
  • Hotels are performing particularly well, with 52pc welcoming more visitors than in 2017. The domestic market is key to this success: close to half (46pc) say their domestic corporate business is up, and 42pc say it has remained the same.
  • About three quarters (73pc) of businesses say that repeat visitors are a positive factor in their outlook for this year.
  • The full Tourism Barometer can be accessed HERE.
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