TD MARGARET Murphy O'Mahony has said that the decline in visitors from the UK to Ireland is a direct threat to West Cork's tourism industry, and requires Minister Ross and the Government to âup their game'.
Deputy Murphy O'Mahony was commenting after the CSO released their latest set of tourism figures for the country. âWhile the overall number of tourists has increased, the number coming from the UK has dropped by 6.4% with the UK market accounting for 41% of all visitors to Ireland. Given the sheer number of visitors from the UK, they cannot be replaced quickly or easily by visitors from other countries,' she said.
âThe UK tourism market is really important for West Cork. Many people from the UK have holiday homes in the area, and it's clear that Brexit is causing many to reconsider their travel and holiday plans in light of a drop in the value of sterling,' added the Bandon-based FF deputy. âI fear that the decline this year could herald an even more substantial drop-off in UK visitors over the next two years, as Brexit chips away at consumer confidence among British would-be tourists.'
She said that if this drop continues, many local businesses, dependent on the tourism industry, will suffer. âIt's not just hotels and B&Bs that will feel the pinch â restaurants, shops, and many other businesses that are reliant on tourists visiting will lose out.'
âBrexit is possibly the biggest threat to the Irish economy in 50 years. Along with agriculture and fishing, tourism is very exposed to Brexit. The Government and Minister Ross in particular, have failed to come up with any concrete plans to help lessen the impact of Brexit on the tourism industry.' Â