July 2013

The 5% increase in arrivals over the first half of the year is most welcome and hopefully the growth in demand will carry through the summer months into the autumn. The rate of increase in demand from the United States and good upturns in many European markets augurs well for the remainder of the year.

The Gathering appears to be ‘doing the business’ in several markets and certainly points to the cost effectiveness of promoting events to spur destination demand. With a major review of tourism policy promised for later this year, the success of Ireland in the US market and the very apparent positive impact of events in stimulating demand certainly warrant further examination as to how best to improve the effectiveness of destination marketing strategies and the return on marketing budgets.

While the improvement in timeliness of data from the CSO is appreciated, the absence of critical performance benchmarks of visitor expenditure and disaggregation of arrivals by purpose of visit continue to be gaps in the measurement of performance.

As always, your comments are most welcome on itic@eircom.net.

VISITOR ARRIVALS
CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS & OUTLOOK
TRANSPORT UPDATES
TRAVEL INDUSTRY NEWS
ECONOMIC UPDATES

 

 

5% INCREASE IN VISITORS JANUARY TO JUNE

Just over 3.1 million arrivals over the first six months of the year are 5.4% ahead of last year. This means that Ireland welcomed 162,000 more visitors so far this year, with increases in demand across the major source markets other than from Britain. Arrivals from mainland Europe for the half year were up 7.9% (84,000 additional visits) with a 15.4% increase in North American arrivals (+69,000) and a 5.7% increase in visitors from other areas (+10,000). The British market showed no growth compared to the same period last year. Over the past two years arrivals in the first half of the year accounted for 46% of the annual totals.

A quick analysis of the CSO data for the first 6 months of 2013 shows that Britain still remains by far the biggest source market by volume with 1,297,000 visits to Ireland. Most other markets have shown growth over the period with the strongest growth coming from Australia/New Zealand (+17%) and from North America (+15%). The Gathering is likely to be a contributing influence on demand together with recent increase in the number of Irish living in Australia. Regrettably no growth was evident from the other long haul emerging markets over the first half of the year. Good rates of growth are apparent across the majority of European source markets, with France overtaking Germany, no doubt French rugby fans contributed to the increase.

The following chart illustrates the relative size of all the markets, other than Britain, together with showing the change over the same period in 2012.

To put the results for the year to date in perspective the aggregate volume of arrivals this year is almost back to 2009 levels, but still 15% off the 2008 levels. Only the long haul sources markets of North America and further afield have fully recovered and now exceed 2008 levels, while mainland Europe is back to 2009 levels.

The results to date are exclusively on a volume basis, so there is no way of knowing how Irish tourism is doing in terms of revenue earned from overseas arrivals or the composition of that demand by purpose of visit.

 

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Aer Lingus expands transatlantic services for 2014 with new routes from Dublin to San Francisco (5 departures per week from April 02) and to Toronto (daily service from April 21) plus year round service from Shannon to Boston (5 per week from January 20, with daily service from March 09) and to New York JFK (5 per week from March 30). Aer Lingus last served San Francisco between October 2007 and October 2009, and gives Ireland a competitive advantage with direct west coast access. Aer Lingus has not operated scheduled services to/from Canada since 1979 and the new service will effectively increase summer capacity between the two countries by 40%, competing with seasonal services currently provided by Air Canada and Air Transat. The viability of the new services is very much dependent on connecting traffic supplementing point to point demand. Aer Lingus is successfully developing traffic from the UK and other European points for its transatlantic services while in the US its codeshare arrangements with United and JetBlue are also driving growth.

American’s JFK-Dublin service, launched this summer, will operate 4 days per week over the coming winter.

Ryanair to fly East Midlands to Cork, with 4 services per week from end October 2013

Luxair returns to Dublin, operating 4 departures per week to Luxembourg with effect from March 30, 2014


Air France sells CityJet to Intro Aviation. CityJet will operate its London City-Dublin service under its own WX code from end October. The Dublin-Paris service is expected to continue to be operated on behalf of Air France at least for the immediate future.

Aer Lingus boosts winter services from Manchester and Birmingham to Dublin, by continuing the mix of mainline and regional services launched this summer, with up to 6 daily services from each city.

Aer Lingus Regional increases flights between Dublin and Bristol to 19 services per week for the coming winter.

 

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DUBLIN AIRPORT TRAFFIC YTD UP 5%

For the six months ending June 2013 a total of 9.3 million passengers passed through Dublin Airport, up 5% on the same period last year. Traffic through the airport in June was up 6%, as passenger numbers grew across all major routes with the strongest growth on transatlantic services at +18%.


SHANNON AIRPORT REPORT GROWTH IN PASSENGERS

June was the first month in over five years that showed an increase in passengers through the airport. 160,573 passengers in June were 8% ahead of the same month last year. A 38% jump in transatlantic traffic resulted from new services from Philadelphia and Chicago, while passengers on European sun routes were up 18%.

Interestingly, 2012 Red C market research showed that of the US transatlantic passengers who arrived through Shannon, 46% holidayed in Clare, 43% in Kerry, 30% in Galway, 26% in Dublin, 24% in Cork and 17% in Limerick.


SOFT JUNE AT CORK AIRPORT

241,000 passengers throughput at Cork Airport was down 3.9% compared to last year, with year to date traffic remaining 1% behind 2012.


VISITOR ARRIVALS IN BRITAIN

January to May arrivals show the strongest start to a year since 2008, with 2% more visits than in the same period in 2012, with a record spend (in nominal terms) of £19.27 billion.

Holiday visits in May were at a record high, 1.35 million visits some 7% more than in May 2012. Britain reports strong growth in arrivals from Rest of the World (outside Europe and N America) with numbers up 9% year to date. It is notable that Ireland is outperforming Britain in growth from North America, with arrivals into the UK down 3% over the first 5 months of the year.


INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONAL DRIVE BEGINS FOR WEST COAST DRIVING ROUTE

A major international promotional push has begun to profile Ireland’s first ever long-distance driving route, the Wild Atlantic Way which will be open in March 2014. As part of this international push Failte Ireland has launched a suite of exciting promotional material distributed to 500 key overseas operators and via Tourism Ireland overseas market offices around the globe. In addition, over 100 ambassadors have been selected as the pilot group to be the faces of the Wild Atlantic Way. CLICK HERE to discover the 50 Secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way.


THE CLIFFS OF MOHER VISITORS UP 10%

Over 404,000 visitors between January and June were 10.5% ahead of the same period last year. Growth in demand has been driven by a 17% increase in group business, while individual admissions were up 4%. Noticeable increases in North Americans and German visitors are reported.


MOLONEY & KELLY

Abbey Tours recently announced its acquisition of the long established and highly respected upscale operator, Moloney & Kelly. The new owners will maintain the M&K brand, as well as existing management and staff. Abbey Tours plan to exploit the potential of further growing the upper segments of the market through the M&K brand.


GOOGLE BOOSTS TOURISM TO DUBLIN

The Foundry – a new ‘digital innovation centre’ – developed by Google at its Dublin Headquarters is expected to bring up to 15,000 extra overseas business visitors to the city each year. The new 15,000sq ft facility, dubbed an ‘ideas factory’, includes a purpose-built 360-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, catering and broadcasting facilities to host conferences and research gatherings. The Foundry will attract thousands of visitors to Dublin each year from SMEs across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The centre, due to open in September, already has more than 70 conferences scheduled with an attendance of over 5,000 visitors to the end of this year. Investment in the facility, the first of its kind outside the US, is a major boost for Dublin’s hospitality sector.

 

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NO IMMEDIATE LET UP FOR EU ECONOMIES

Hopes of the EU economy emerging from recession to a base case scenario of a stabilisation in the second half of 2013 with a gradual but slow recovery in 2014 took a knock in recent weeks. German investor confidence weakened in July as disappointing hard data on unemployment, falling exports, imports, record low car sales, and the government crisis in Portugal, reminded investors that the European crisis is still with us. The ZEW Centre for European Economic Research’s index of investor and analyst expectations fell in June, the first drop in three months, spooking the markets.


UK ECONOMY – LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lifted its economic growth forecast for the UK this year from 0.7% to 0.9%. A gradual recovery in the UK economy is also forecast in PWC’s latest outlook, although it warns of continuing risks relating to the Eurozone and the wider global environment. The outlook projects growth for the UK as a whole to be around 1% in 2013, picking up gradually to around 2% in 2014, with a return to modest growth across all regions but being led by London. Growth continues to be driven by the services sector, with manufacturing and construction experiencing negative growth in the year to Q1 2013. But, recent business surveys suggest some stabilisation in manufacturing and construction activity and these sectors could be expected to return to modest growth over the next 18 months.


DATA POINTS TO U.S. ECONOMIC PICK-UP

After a dismal first half of the year, in which consumers were hit by tax hikes and deep cuts in the federal budget, most recent data on new claims for unemployment and factory output suggest signs of a stronger economy. The Fed expects the economy will gather enough steam by the end of the year for it to begin scaling back a bond-purchase programme it has used to push down borrowing costs. The dollar extended a rally against the yen and yields rose for long-term US government debt, signs that investors were betting on tighter monetary policy in the future. U.S. stocks rose to record highs after investment bank Morgan Stanley posted stronger-than-expected profits. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index was flat at 95.3 last month suggests future US economic activity could be at a near five-year high.


IRELAND – CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IMPROVES

The CSO figures for retail sales in May showed a third consecutive annual fall with the value of sales, excluding motor trades and bars, down by 1.2% compared with the same month last year. The volume of retail sales in May showed a slight improvement on the previous month, The KBC Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index was much improved in June at 70.6, compared to 61.2 in May. This is the highest level reached since October 2007, suggesting that consumers are moving from a negative perception to a more neutral or slightly positive outlook. However, such sudden rises in sentiment have not always been maintained.

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