Category: Archive

Irish Echo Editorial: Tourism in trouble?

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Tourism revenue is now stagnant, and the country is facing increased competition from other holiday destinations. In some parts of Ireland, the numbers are in decline. In fact, using the key industry criterion of “bed nights,” tourism everywhere outside of Dublin is down 14 percent.
But what is disturbing is that the Irish government’s focus appears to be a revamp of the existing marketing bureaucratic structures.
And much of the commentary in the Irish press centers on changing the marketing “message” and creating a unique, modern “brand.”
Some industry figures in Ireland have also quietly written off any increase in tourism from the United States, with various commentators suggesting that since 9/11, “Americans just aren’t traveling.”
This is insulting nonsense, and could prove a very costly presumption.
In fact, the reason Irish tourism is going nowhere fast is obvious to most visitors: Ireland has become a very expensive place to travel, and the quality of service often does not match the prices.
Of course, the current low rate of the dollar to the euro is part of the problem, but the systematic gouging of tourists — from charging hotels rooms “per person” to the myriad of extra charges on car hire – has got to stop.
Americans just don’t like the feeling of being ripped off, and Irish Americans are no exception.
Neither should the tourist board count on Irish immigrants here continuing to make the annual pilgrimage home. Many have made their lives in the United States. Their vacation time is usually short and precious, and they have many choices.
Irish tourism must give itself a good shake before it prices itself out of the market.

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