New Research Published Today Finds Visiting an Irish Pub Is Our #1 Tourist Attraction

Hospitality and Drinks Industry stakeholders consider Ireland’s tourism offer, and asks

‘are our hospitality and drinks industries unique resources or do they play into an embarrassing national stereotype?’

As new report by Tony Foley, Economist, DCU Business School was launched today entitled ‘The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism’. The report was launched at a debate facilitated by Prof Kevin Rafter between leading tourism stakeholders on the relationship between the hospitality and drinks industry in Ireland and the country’s tourist offering. The event entitled “Ireland’s tourism offer – are our hospitality and drinks industries unique resources or do they play into an embarrassing national stereotype?” was hosted by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) as part of their ‘Support your local’ campaign.

The key findings from the report by Tony Foley, DCU Business School include:

  • The top-ranked item influencing overseas visitors to come to Ireland was the experience of the Irish pub (80%)
  • “Listening to Irish music in a pub” was the number one activity cited by visiting tourists (83%)
  • Guinness Storehouse was the biggest fee-charging tourism attraction in the country. It achieved a record number of visitors of 1.1571 million in 2013. The Old Jameson Distillery was also in the top 20 of fee-charging attractions with 267,800 visitors. Over 90% of these visitors are from overseas.
  • The tax take from tourism in 2013 was €1.4 billion and domestic and overseas tourism expenditure was €4.7 billion excluding carrier receipts.

Speaking about the research, Tony Foley said:

“The economic role of tourism is substantial. Recent improved tourism performance has contributed to the economic recovery. The 2014 Government draft Tourism Policy includes very ambitious growth targets for tourism to increase the take to €5 billion in real terms compared to the level of €3.3 billion in 2013. Drinks industry support will contribute to the realisation of the ambitious tourism growth targets.”

Bart Storan, Campaign Manager for ‘Support Your Local…’ said:

“Tourism is expected to play a major role in the recovery of employment and economic activity over the next few years. The drinks industry can contribute to the realisation of these ambitious growth targets if it’s supported appropriately. Punitive excise increases in the last 2 budgets have created an unsustainable position for the industry – pubs are closing and the small businesses that make up the industry are struggling to stay afloat.

“Excise is a tax on tourism. Increasing tax on alcohol, including excise duty, does not address misuse of the product, it simply harms our tourism offering. Failte Ireland research cites that the price of alcohol, which is the highest in Europe, is one of the main contributors as to why tourists would not visit Ireland again-second only to the weather. Do we really want to give tourists another reason not to visit again? We would urge the Government: support tourism, ‘Support Your Local…’”

Prof Kevin Rafter, from the School of Communications at DCU, who facilitated today’s discussion said:

“The role of alcohol in Irish society is one that often plays out in the media. The event today looked at a variety of issues; are we doing enough to champion our hospitality and drinks industry, which is clearly such an important part of our tourist offering? Are we damaging this offering with tax increases? Or do we, as a nation, need to move away from the stereotypical image of Ireland as a nation of binge drinkers?

“The role of the drinks and hospitality industry in the context of Ireland’s tourist offering needs to be debated at forums like this going forward, to consider how we can support this important industry, while also deterring the negative stereotype that many people have of this country as a nation of boozers and fighting binge drinking.”

Taking part in today’s discussion in the Camden Court Hotel were:

  • Keith McDonnell, Irish Whiskey Museum
  • Oliver Hughes, Porterhouse Group
  • Celine Weldon, Guinness Storehouse
  • Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive, Restaurant Association of Ireland
  • Padraig Cribben, CEO, Vintners Federation of Ireland
  • Cathy Sullivan, Marketing Manager for the Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre
  • Representative from the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation
  • Tim Fenn, Irish Hotels Federation
  • Tony Foley, DCU Business School

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