Monday, November 14, 2011

14/11/2011: Tourism to Ireland - Q3 2011 data

Q3 2011 data for overseas travel to and from Ireland is out today and here are the updates.

From the top figures:

  • In Q3 2011, total number of overseas trips to Ireland rose 6.49% yoy (+129,600 visitors). Relative to peak of Q3 2007, the number of visits to Ireland remains down 19.66% (-520,200 visitors).
  • Number of overseas trips from Ireland fell 7.02% yoy (-150,000) and is down 15.64% on peak of Q3 2007 (-368,500 visitors).
  • Net travel to Ireland in Q3 2011 was 139,000, up on 10,600 in Q2 2011 and up on -140,600 in Q3 2010, making this quarter the second highest in terms of net number of visitors to Ireland since Q1 2007 and the highest since Q3 2007.

  • Numbers of visitors to Ireland from Great Britain rose to 910,500 in Q3 2011 (+6.79% yoy) but remains 28.27% (-358,800) down on same period in 2007.
  • Numbers of visitors from Other Europe rose 5.84% yoy to 741,800 in Q3 2011, but remains down 15.09% on Q3 2007 (-131,800).
  • Numbers of visitors from North America rose 5.17% yoy (to 350,000) and is down 10.33% on Q3 2007.
  • Proportionally, visitors from Great Britain to Ireland comprised 42.82% of all visitors to Ireland in Q3 2011, up on 42.7% in Q2 2011, but down on 47.96% in Q3 2007.

So overall, some encouraging news for tourism and transport sector. This is especially encouraging since Q3 2011 was a quarter of heightened economic concerns across the EU, UK and the US, so it is hard to argue that some sort of 'recovery bounce' is driving tourists to Ireland. Which might suggest that improved costs of hotels and associated services are working through to make Ireland more attractive destination. That and PR stunts by the Queen and the US President?

PS: after I have posted the above, one of the twitterati @hayspender came back with a comment:
"you dont think zombie hotels have a influence also? ie not true economics!" I agree, sometimes, when you write, not all possible permutations of potential causes can be captured. Of course, part of the 'improved competitiveness' is the factor of NAMA-owned hotels which receive an implicit (and very real) subsidy on their capital costs, allowing them to offer rooms at rates well below true cost that is faced by other hoteliers.

Yet another potential factor, also overlooked by me and flagged by another twitterati, is that some of the overseas travel relates to people commuting for work. This, however, does not appear to be reflected in the data, since the CSO releases data based on surveys which do collect information about the residency of travelers and reasons for travel.

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