- Over the coming few months we will have a look at each of Ireland’s top dozen source markets. Tourism changes over time and it is interesting to follow those shifts.
- For instance, in the early 1960’s 9 out of 10 visitors came from Britain, 7% from North America and just 3% from Continental Europe.
- By the early 70’s just 7 out of 10 came from Britain, about one-fifth from North America while 8% from Continental Europe, with other areas contributing just 2%.
- By the mid 1980’s further shifts saw Britain drop to 6 out of 10 visitors. North America was around 20% while Continental Europe was catching up on America, having grown to 17%.
- And last year, Britain still remained in the number one position, currently accounting for one in two overseas visitors. Continental Europe was still moving up, with 1 in 3 coming from there, while North America had fallen to 14%, with the remaining 4% coming from the rest of the world.
- It is generally accepted that there have been 3 revolutions in the travel industry in the past 50 years. The first came in the 1960’s in the shape of cheap air charter travel and package tours. Rising incomes enabled people of modest means to travel more, and to take advantage of the all-inclusive trips.
- The second was the advent of the Internet, which has allowed countless millions to book flights, hotels, hire cars and package tours, without ever going near a high street travel agent.
- The third is the emergence of fast growing economies, even super economies such as China, Russia, Brazil, India and several Gulf states. These are the markets that will shape the future of travel in the next couple of decades.
- Consider this. Last year the number of visits abroad by Chinese reached 47 million. (They also made 1.6 billion trips within China). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Chinese demand for travel will quadruple in the next 10 years.
Russians made a total of 34.3 million trips abroad last year, up 18% on the previous year.
India is some way behind with just 10 million trips abroad, but as its economy powers ahead this figure will grow rapidly. Similarly with Brazil.
- So what will Ireland’s mix look like in 20 years time? Perhaps something like this – Britain 33%, North America 12%, Continental Europe 40% and the rest 15%. In many respects that might be a healthier mix than presently, but forecasting is a tricky business.
- Currently our top dozen producing markets are:
UK 3.8 million USA 975,000 Germany 436,000 France 394,000 Poland 308,000 Italy 265,000 Spain 249,000 The Netherlands 155,000 Australia 122,000 Sweden 96,000 Canada 96,000
- ITIC is profoundly grateful to many sources for some of the information contained in the upcoming market profiles, including the CSO, Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, World Travel & Tourism Council and others.
- As usual, in reverse order, next week we will have a look at Canada.