Coach Tourism is an important sector

  • ITIC has just completed a joint report on the coach tourism sector with the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC) and the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA).  The report was launched in Dublin yesterday by Dr Martin Mansergh T.D., Minister of State for Arts, Sport & Tourism.

    (L-R) Jane Magnier, President ITOA, Dick Bourke, Chairman ITIC & J.J. Kavanagh, Chairman CTTC at the launch of the review
    (L-R) Jane Magnier, President ITOA, Dick Bourke, Chairman ITIC & J.J. Kavanagh, Chairman CTTC at the launch of the review
  • In a summer of gloomy news and reports, there is much here to be upbeat about.  The demand for coach touring holidays in Ireland increased by 56% between 2002 and 2006.  In the same period the overall number of overseas tourists visiting Ireland increased by just 25%, while the number on holiday increased by just 15%.  Coach tourism outperformed the market by a large margin.
  • This performance would have continued through 2007, although it appears that there will be at least a moderation in growth this year.
  • In all about 400,000 visitors took coach tours in Ireland last year.  Over half arrived here by air, while the balance came by sea.
  • Britain is our largest source market for coach touring visitors with about 40%, followed by North America with almost 35%, with the fastest growing market Continental Europe producing over 17%.
  • How often have you heard it said of coach tourism that it is a declining market, the people are older?  What a load of rubbish.  More people are getting older all the time; in fact demographics in all our main source markets (including the domestic market) are such that the future best prospects for Irish tourism will be in the older age groups.  The baby boomer generation is just starting to retire.  They are wealthier, fitter and have more time on their hands to travel than any previous generation.
  • The quality of the touring coaches these days is brilliant, offering air-conditioned luxury that matches sitting room comfort.  Younger people and families are now buying coach tours for choice and comfort.
  • But there are challenges ahead for Ireland’s coach tour business.  Driver and tour guide recruitment has been difficult in recent years for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the unsocial working hours.  Despite that, the sector is positive about the future.  For a copy of the full report go to www.itic.ie and you will find it under “Research”.
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