The latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) confirms that British tourism arrivals to Ireland are down 6% for the period December-February.
This represents 49,200 fewer British visitors compared to the same period last year and is real evidence that the Irish tourism industry is very vulnerable to Brexit.
The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), the umbrella group for the tourism industry in Ireland, have today warned that the impact of Brexit is already damaging Irish tourism.
Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing 220,000 people throughout the country, 1 in every 9 jobs. The industry is worth over €8 billion annually to the economy, according to ITIC.
ITIC has previously published a report on the impact of Brexit on Irish tourism warning that failure by the Government to put policies in place to mitigate the adverse consequences of Ireland’s largest tourism market leaving the EU will damage jobs and regional growth.
The Confederation has pointed out that the three-month trend from Britain shows a decline of 6% but looking at February alone there is a very worrying decline of 22%. If that level of decline continues for the year, warns ITIC, it would mean 850,000 less arrivals from Britain to Ireland and would impact up to 10,000 jobs.
ITIC has called on the Government to reverse recent cuts and provide an immediate €12 million boost to tourism budgets to consolidate UK market share, diversify into new markets and provide a package of supports to tourism businesses.
Chairman of ITIC, Paul Gallagher says, "The CSO figures released today are confirmation of what the Irish tourism industry has been saying for some time. Brexit represents the biggest challenge to Irish tourism since the global recession. The Government has been asleep at the wheel, despite the Irish tourism industry urgings, and corrective action is needed now."