While Ireland has already been successful in attracting high-end ‘golf and castles’ tourism to the value of €200m annually, a much bigger jackpot estimated at over €170bn globally is also available to exploit.
The targeting of niche luxury markets was one of the activities highlighted in the recently launched ‘Get Brexit Ready’ initiative.
“More luxury travellers are seeking experiences that offer private and exclusive escapes which are authentic and provide immersion in the local culture. Ireland can deliver this — along with access to stunning landscapes coupled with exceptional and personal service.”
“These luxury agents were pleased to discover the many choices for luxurious accommodations, whether that be a city centre, estate, or castle property,” said Crothúr Murphy, chief executive of Custom Ireland.
The recent International Congresses and Conventions Association rankings show Dublin having risen five places to 13th in the world for hosting conferences and conventions, with Ireland, overall, rising six places.
The capital city’s performance placed it ahead of Copenhagen, Brussels, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Regional venues in Cork, Galway and Limerick all featured in the rankings, contributing to the country’s overall performance. Business and events form an important component of the overall tourism industry, generating above average yields, out-of-season traffic and regional growth.
Throughout 2016, Fáilte Ireland’s business and events team supported the conversion of more than €150m worth of business for current and future years, and additionally supported the conversion of €27.2m worth of business for regional Ireland. “We are certainly punching above our weight with Dublin and Ireland ranking ahead of larger and much more established destinations,” said Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan.
It attracted its largest ever UK attendance, with more than 300 British events buyers taking advantage of the opportunity to meet directly with over 50 Irish hoteliers, business meeting venues and conference organisers to generate potential business worth €52m.
However, a note of caution toward possible upcoming budget changes has been sounded.
“The Government has played its part in creating the right conditions for a competitive sector — particularly in terms of the highly effective Vat rate — but the industry must also step up to the plate and ensure an Irish visit remains good value.
“If we were to lose our reputation as a good value destination, it may take us years to recover it.”