IRELAND South MEP and member of the EU Tourism Taskforce Deirdre Clune has lent her support to calls at European level for the European Commission to adopt an EU wide tourism strategy which involves investment, vision and cooperation at EU level to encourage more tourism growth between European countries.
It comes on the back of figures which show that the number of British tourists visiting Ireland has fallen dramatically. Chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority Kevin Toland told a European Parliament committee hearing that inbound trips from the UK are down seven per cent and “falling like a stone”
Deirdre Clune described this as a worrying trend for counties and towns who depend on large numbers of British tourists and said we need to be focusing on new markets like Spain and Italy,
“Britain is the largest single market for tourism to the island of Ireland, delivering almost 50% of all overseas visitors and around one-third of all overseas tourism revenue. British visitors to Ireland grew by +9% to over 3.4 million in 2016 so it is particularly disheartening to see such a dramatic drop in numbers this year in the wake of Brexit. British Tourists tend to visit more remote parts of the country by car and tend to spend longer in Ireland.
“We now need to expand on markets that are already growing such as Spain and Italy. Tourism Ireland targeted +25% growth in Spanish and Italian visitors between now and 2020. That means engaging with tourism bodies in those countries, funding advertising campaigns, engaging with airlines to create more direct links and even small but simple touches such as translating menus and brochures into Spanish and Italian.”