Ireland has seen 21% drop in tourists from Great Britain in 2022 compared to 2019, Fáilte Ireland has revealed.
North American tourist numbers have also fallen by 20%, while passengers from mainland Europe are also down by 8%.
The Irish Hotels Federation has expressed serious concerns that a potential increase in tourism VAT would further undermine recovery in Irish tourism. The government plans to revert the VAT rate from 9% to 13.5% at the end of February.
“A tourism VAT rate of 13.5% would undermine our competitiveness and result in people paying an additional €400m more in taxes each year on everything from the price of a cup of coffee, to the price of a meal out, a stay in a hotel and the cost of a wedding. That’s a 50% increase in consumer taxes for Irish tourism services during a cost-of-living crisis when both Irish consumers and overseas visitors are under enormous financial pressure,” said Denyse Campbel, IHF President.
“Hoteliers and tourism operators are particularly concerned about the UK market for 2023 and beyond, with the country facing a bleak economic outlook with inflation hitting a four-decade high and the country heading into a prolonged economic slowdown and possible recession.
“Our main focus should be on securing the recovery over the next 12 months – doing everything we can to safeguard livelihoods and the long-term prospects for our industry. We should do nothing to put the recovery in tourism at risk and are urging the Government to retain the 9% VAT rate.”
Fáilte Ireland held a virtual launch today to unveil plans to help support the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector this year.
The domestic market is being seen as critical for sustainable recovery and plays a key role in driving regional and seasonal spread.
Value for money is critical to convert domestic intention into domestic bookings, said Paul Kelly CEO of Fáilte Ireland.
Over 82% of people are considering taking a domestic holiday in 2023. This year, Fáilte Ireland has ambitious plans to increase tourism revenue from the domestic audience, which includes the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This includes promoting festivals, events, occasions, and other great reasons to travel.