In 2003 a comprehensive plan was drawn up called, New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for Action. This report set out a comprehensive strategy for developing the industry covering a 10 year period to 2012. A detailed plan of specific actions which would be required in order to achieve the objectives of attaining 10 million overseas visitors, generating €6 billion by 2012 was set out.
The report also recommended that a half-way review be undertaken to see how the industry was performing, if targets were being met, and to recommend any essential changes which might be desirable. That review has just been completed and was launched today by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen T.D. An expert group, Chaired by Maurice Pratt, worked through the summer to produce the new report and recommendations which will guide the industry over the next 5 years.
Overall, performance up to 2007 was good, but the strong headline growth in visitor numbers, and the exceptional growth in domestic demand, partially concealed a number of weaknesses including; the loss of price competitiveness, weaker growth from traditional higher spending markets, and a weaker performance of visitors travelling for leisure only. This delivered a poorer than expected revenue performance over the period.
The environment for Irish tourism has changed radically in the past couple of years. The pace, scale and nature of changes to the global and domestic economies have been exceptional and entirely unanticipated. Tourism has been affected like every other sector worldwide.
The environment in which Irish tourism must stablise and return to growth is extremely challenging. But it can be done. The report from the Tourism Renewal Group charts the way. Click here to read the Executive Summary, or the whole report.
October 8th 2009