A newly released study has claimed that the biggest influence on tourists coming to Ireland is Irish pubs, with 80% of those surveyed saying it was their main reason for visiting.
‘The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism’ was prepared by DCU Business School economist Tony Foley, and presented at a debate earlier this week hosted by representatives from the drinks industry.
Listening to Irish music in a pub was also cited as the number one activity for visiting tourists with 83% saying it was something they had done while in Ireland.
Much of the data in the report was drawn from Fáilte Ireland, the CRO and other sources.
The report was discussed at an event titled ‘Ireland’s tourism offer – are our hospitality and drinks industries unique resources or do they play into an embarrassing national stereotype?’, organised by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) as part of its ‘Support your local’ campaign.
Paul Carty, managing director of the Guinness Storehouse and chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, said the country ‘absolutely’ needs to captalise on the international stereotype of the traditional pub in order to satisfy visitors.
The Guinness Storehouse has consistently been ranked as the top fee paying visitor attraction in the country, with a record 1.1m visitors in 2013 alone.
“The economic role of tourism is substantial. Recent improved tourism performance has contributed to the economic recovery,” said Mr. Foley.
“The 2014 Government draft Tourism Policy includes very ambitious growth targets for tourism to increase the take to €5bn in real terms compared to the level of €3.3bn in 2013. Hospitality and drinks industry support will contribute to the realisation of the ambitious tourism growth targets.”
Mr. Foley’s report also predicts that up to 1,000 additional pubs will close over the next decade, on top of the 1,000 already having shut their doors over the last six years. The economist believes “no magic solution” will be found to retain their economi viability.