Confidence in the Irish tourism industry for the coming year ahead is at its highest level for many years, with almost all accommodation providers in the sector expecting to increase or maintain business.
The news came at Fáilte Ireland’s Annual Tourism Industry Review. This confidence has been boosted by a combination of recent Government initiatives, improving overseas markets and the impact of last year’s ‘Gathering’ initiative.
Speaking at the event, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised: “One of Ireland’s largest indigenous industries, tourism has a spring in its step once more and is poised to play a pivotal role in the continuing national recovery. With €100m invested in Fáilte Ireland initiatives in recent years, including the new Wild Atlantic Way, and an overall increase in overseas visitors anticipated during 2014, tourism is well placed to deliver additional revenue and employment.”
During 2013, visitor numbers grew by 7% and foreign earnings rose by €300m, boosting overall confidence in the sector. Business sentiment (regarding 2013 and looking to 2014) is on the up for seven out of ten tourism operators, a long way from the lows of 2009-10.
There is a belief that legacy of The Gathering and a general rising optimism will lead to continued tourism growth in 2014.
It’s estimated that 137,700 people are employed in the accommodation and foodservice sectors alone in Ireland, a 12% increase over 2012.