DESPITE Brexit concerns and capacity limitations, in Dublin in particular, the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation is presenting a positive outlook for our tourism industry for 2017. It is good to note that ITIC feels that there is great potential for growth, as outlined in its ‘Tourism 2025; An Industry Roadmap for Growth’ document, published at the end of December, but it cautions that this will only happen if we remain competitive.
While the effects of the Brexit decision were not felt too badly in 2016 – a year which saw the number of overseas visitors increase by 10% to a record 8.8million – the drop in the value of sterling against the euro will have a bigger effect in 2017, so it is vital for tourism in the Brexit talks that the Common Travel Area is maintained, as well as tourism providers here giving visitors good value for money.
The lower 9% VAT rate on tourism products and services is helping in this regard, but there are worrying signs of upward pressure being put on prices in Dublin with demand for hotel rooms threatening to outstrip supply. Hopefully, places such as West Cork will benefit also from the domestic market, which underpins many tourism enterprises, with ITIC expecting to see a further increase in the demand for short leisure breaks as personal finances improve.