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Drinks and Hospitality Industry Vital For Ireland’s Tourism Offer in Wake of Brexit

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Drinks and Hospitality Industry Vital For Ireland’s Tourism Offer in Wake of Brexit

Drinks and Hospitality Industry Vital For Ireland’s Tourism Offer in Wake of Brexit
August 10
10:07 2016

A new report by DCU economist Tony Foley, commissioned by the Support Your Local campaign, ‘The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism’, has highlighted the massive and far-reaching role of the drinks and hospitality sector in supporting Ireland’s tourism offer. The report states that the UK vote to leave the EU will impact on the Government’s ambitious targets for the tourism industry, outlined in its 2015 Tourism Policy. Therefore, the drinks and hospitality industry should be supported appropriately as it can contribute to the realisation of these ambitious tourism growth targets. The Support Your Local campaign is calling for a 15% reduction in alcohol excise in the next Budget to support the sector.

The report highlights the significant role of the hospitality sector, with 7193 pubs, 631 hotel bars and 2406 licenced restaurants across Ireland, offering visitors a world-renowned Irish welcome and experience. The pub was mentioned by almost a third of visitors as a positive distinguishing feature of Ireland in 2015, while the pub ranked as the number one potential experience influencing a visit to Ireland in a 2013 Failte Ireland survey. Meanwhile, ‘listening to Irish music in the pub’ was the number one experience visitors enjoyed when they were here.

The report also states that the network of pubs, hotel bars and licenced restaurants across Ireland supports the regional spread of tourism. This is particularly significant as the Government seeks to promote tourism outside of Dublin, through initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way. These organisations make a substantial contribution to the positive visitor experience and despite notable struggles in recent years, these small businesses exist in every town and village across Ireland.

The drinks industry also contributes significantly to tourism through the direct provision of major tourism attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse, Old Jameson Distillery and other visitor centres, like the Kilbeggan Distillery and Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre.  The Guinness Storehouse is the biggest fee-charging tourism attraction in the country. It achieved a record number of visitors of almost 1.5 million in 2015. The Old Jameson Distillery was also in the top 20 of fee-charging attractions with 282,000 visitors in 2015. With the Irish whiskey renaissance in full-swing and Ireland’s beer industry more popular than ever, there are a number of newer visitor centres opening up, and like the hospitality sector, these centres are located all across Ireland, promoting regional tourism.

Tony Foley, Economist at DCU, says: “The tourism industry is expected to be a major source of economic development and employment growth over the coming years, although Brexit will make it much harder to realise the growth potential. To achieve this desirable and demanding growth the tourism industry will need widespread support, including the ongoing substantial direct and indirect support provided by the drinks industry.”

Michael Storan, Campaign Manager for Support Your Local, says: “The report confirms the importance of the drinks and hospitality industry to domestic and international tourism. We are calling on the Government to show support for this industry with a 15% reduction in alcohol excise in the next Budget. This will foster growth in the drinks and hospitality sector and allow it to contribute to the Government’s tourism targets. This is particularly significant in the wake of the Brexit vote.”

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