Monday, October 21 10:35:39
Business sentiment in the tourism industry has increased significantly this year with strong feeling that the market has really turned the corner and the future is looking more positive.
These are the headline findings coming from the latest Failte Ireland Tourism Barometer which was published over the weekend.
The survey of over 750 different tourism businesses, carried out throughout September and before the recent budget announcements, shows business sentiment at a height not seen since the boom years. Two in three (65pc) of serviced accommodation operators reported increased visitor numbers and encouragingly for the first time since the start of the financial crisis, all three serviced accommodation sectors report that visitor numbers are significantly up - hotels (68pc), guesthouses (58pc) and B and Bs (46pc).
Many sectors across the industry point to the good weather and the Gathering as having positive impacts on performance this year. In particular the findings note the Gathering bounce has been enjoyed across the country with all regions performing well and hotels benefitting the most (with almost six out of ten all around the country citing the Gathering as a factor for increased business).
Welcoming the findings of today's report, Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism today pointed out: "This Government's has put tourism front and centre of our recovery from the start. The recent Budget maintains the VAT rate at 9pc and also reduced the air travel tax to E0. So I am delighted to see that sentiment in the industry is so high. We have seen very significant growth in jobs, revenue and visitor numbers over the last couple of years, and the Budget measures will build on that momentum and help the industry to remain competitive and provide good value. The extra funding for Failte Ireland's flagship tourism route, the Wild Atlantic Way, will also help tourism businesses, particularly along the western seaboard."
Commenting on his agency's report, Shaun Quinn CEO of Failte Ireland emphasised: "This report is a realistic snapshot of where the industry is at today and shows us that the tourism tide is very much on the turn. Encouragingly there has been growth across all the sectors - accommodation, attractions, and restaurants - as well as feedback that the overseas market is performing well for tourism businesses - in particular North America. For us in Failte Ireland, these findings are clear evidence the Gathering as well as recent Government initiatives have helped to provide the jump-start we hoped they would. In a week which has seen tourism come out strongly in the Government's budget for 2014, we are now in a much healthier and positive place to build on this momentum."