There has been a significant reduction in tourist spending from British and German visitors to Ireland as Brexit fears loom large - according to the latest Dublin Economic Monitor (DEM) published by the capital's four local authorities.
It found that, while overall tourism retail spending in Dublin rose by 8.7% compared to last year, spending by British visitors has fallen by 2.6% in Dublin and by 5.6% nationally. Spending by British visitors has been in decline for several quarters.
The DEM said the reason for the decline is "continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the weakness of sterling against the Euro impact negatively on Dublin".
Spending by German tourists has also fallen and follows the announcement of a third straight quarter of manufacturing decline.
By contrast, visitor spending from the US and China segments continues to grow significantly with an increase of 12.8% and 10% on 2018 figures. However, the DEM said that the ongoing escalation of trade disputes between the two economies could potentially have an impact on tourist performance in the coming quarters.
Dublin's economy was found to be performing well with unemployment falling by 9% since 2012. The unemployment rate is now at its lowest rate since the final three months of 2007.
There are now 706,000 people employed in the capital - with an additional 5,800 people added to the workforce in the first quarter of the year.
However, average residential rents in Dublin rose again in the first three months of 2019, with average monthly rents in the capital now at €1,662 - up 8.5% year on year.
After five consecutive months of month-on-month declines in Dublin’s property prices, a slight rebound was recorded in May 2019, while commencements are outstripping completions in terms of housing construction.
EY-DKM Economic Advisory's Brexit Tracker has identified Dublin as the most popular choice for financial services to relocate post-Brexit, followed closely by Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris.
Senior economic development officer with Dublin City Council and programme manager of the DEM, Steven O'Gara, said the fall in spending by British tourists is "of serious concern".
“The Dublin economy has continued to perform really well in spite of the looming shadow of Brexit with strong job creation and positive economic indicators. However, the continuing erosion of our competitiveness as a destination to UK visitors is of serious concern. The tourism sector is a huge part of the city’s economic mix, a massive employer and has fantastic potential for growth into the future."
"But we can see the value of partnerships with companies like Mastercard and the Dublin SpendingPulse as we can track the impact of external shocks and use this information to inform public policy responses," he said.
Economist with EY-DKM Economic Advisory, Ciara Morley, said that in facing the challenge of Brexit, it is important that Dublin's economy continues to perform and remain competitive.