Analysis of Regional Distribution of Overseas Tourism 1989 -1994

Prepared for the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation by Tourism Development International Ltd.

The aim of this report was to examine trends in regional tourism between 1989 and 1994. The report was limited to overseas tourism (i.e. excludes tourists from Northern Ireland, domestic tourism and excursionists). The report is based on material published and unpublished from Bord Failte and is derived primarily from their survey of travellers.

Approach Taken (Terms of Reference)

  • To identify the existence of any imbalance in overseas tourism growth on a regional basis.
  • To identify the extent of any imbalance as it impacts on each region.
  • To analyse trends in business to each region from the key source markets and market segments for the five year period 1989-94.
  • To identify a mode of access used by overseas visitors and trend in gateway usage.
  • To analyse trends in seasonality by region.
  • Supply – to establish the growth of tourism product by region.


  • Tourism Revenue in all regions outperformed international and European averages. The highest five year growth rates in tourism revenue were achieved by South-East and Dublin, followed by Midlands/East and South-West. By comparison, Mid-West and West performed significantly below the national average.
  • The eastern regions achieved a five year revenue growth double that of the western regions (86% versus 43%).
  • Average annual growth rates from the British market were 12.4% for Eastern Regions.
  • Compared with 4.8% for Western Regions. The comparable rates for tourists from Continental Europe were 21.5% in the East compared with 15.4% for the West. As a result, there has been a major shift in the pattern of British and European tourism to Ireland.
  • Western regions had a larger share of tourism revenue than eastern regions in 1989. However, by 1994 the eastern regions had caught up.
  • A majority of tourist bednights are now spent in the Eastern regions – 51% in 1994 compared with 44% in 1989.
  • There has been an improvement in the seasonal pattern with the percentages of tourists coming outside the two peak months increasing from 69% in 1989 to 72% in 1994.


This preliminary report which made a valuable contribution to the debate on regional distribution confirmed that while most regions reported a good increase in business, the rate of improvement varied from region to region and was strongest in the eastern half of the country. The report confirmed a pattern which had been emerging in previous surveys within the industry.

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