The Report of the Tourism Policy Review Group set out a target to double overseas visitor spend from €3 billion to €6 billion over the 10 year period from 2002 to 2012 and to increase visitor numbers from 6 million to 10 million. At the halfway stage it appeared that the visitor numbers were achievable, but due to changing travel and economic patterns the revenue target would not be achieved.
The great global recession which commenced in 2008 made all targets irrelevant, as the travel & tourism industry became a severe casualty of the economic downturn. In less than 3 years, annual overseas visitors to Ireland dropped by 2 million, and associated revenue by over €1.2 billion. Recovery has commenced in 2011, albeit of modest proportions when growth will be recorded for the first time since 2007.
- Total Revenue for the Irish tourist industry had grown from €4.3 billion in 2000 to €6.5 billion in 2007 (domestic tourism accounting for €1.5 billion), but fell to approximately €5 billion in 2010.
- Overseas visitors amounted to 6.2 million in 2000 and reached 7.8 million in 2007, but dropped to 5.9 million in 2010.
- The tourism and hospitality industry sustains over 200,000 jobs in the economy.
How ITIC strives to achieve Tourism Recovery
Most importantly, the tourist industry must maintain, through ITIC, itsclose working partnership with Government, Tourism Ireland Limited, Fáilte Ireland and the Tourist Agencies North and South. This has been a key factor in tourism’s overall success and will continue to play a vital role as the industry moves forward.
To restore growth we must:
- Seek increased state investment in marketing Ireland as a tourist destination to complement the industry’s own spend.
- Work to win market share in the top producing markets.
- Respond to new challenges and maximise the marketing potential of the internet.
- Harness the potential of Ireland’s diaspora.
- Leverage international travel trade and other distribution channels.
- Work more closely with the agencies to ensure that effectiveness of the combined expenditure is maximised.