Challenges Facing Irish Tourism
There are several challenges facing Irish tourism. Tourism is among the biggest economic contributors to the Irish republic. In 2011, Ireland received more than 6.2 million visitors. Most visitors in this country come from France, Germany, United States and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, despite receiving a high number of tourists Ireland tourism industry has its challenges as well.
Persistence of difficult economic situations is among the challenges that have been affecting tourism in Ireland recently. Global recession that affected almost every nation had impact on Irish tourism as well. Tourism and travel industry of Ireland faced challenges as a result of the recession from international and domestic fronts.
Over the recent past, Irish tourism has experienced a reduction in the consumer demand as well as restricted spending among the tourists. This has affected the tourism industry negatively especially retail and travel accommodation areas. Both outgoing and incoming tourism suffered more losses especially from 2012.
Retention of the reduced rate of VAT is now welcome and it has helped in improving the situation. Before June 2012, the VAT rate was at 13.5 percent which had a negative effect on the tourism industry especially the hotel operators. High VAT rate made the operating cost high for the hotel operators. This made potential investors run away from the tourism industry making its expansion or growth slow.
Another challenge that is facing Irish tourism industry is the unwillingness of the local investors to invest in the industry. Following the impact of the 2012 economic recession in Ireland, investors are still not confident in the potential of the tourism industry.
Analysts observe that instead of investing in Ireland, most investors in this country especially the big companies are chasing investment opportunities in other countries. This has denied Irish tourism industry funding from local investors.
There is also an uncoordinated competition among the players in the Irish tourism industry. For instance, hotels are competing with guesthouses. In 2012, guesthouses had the worst performance ever. This is because they were facing competition from hotels which had room rates also decline. This combined with extensive promotion made by hotels impacted on the guesthouses negatively making some guesthouse operators close their businesses.
Separation of the Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority also caused some confusion at first. However, this move has later boosted the tourism industry with more people using the airport to enter and leave Ireland.
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