I am sure that Ms O’Regan-Sheppard (Irish Examiner, 8/8/19) is perfectly correct in pointing out the unfair advantages enjoyed by Airbnb properties over traditional, regulated forms of tourist accommodation, but this alone would not lead to the development of a single-night culture as opposed to longer stays.
She makes the interesting point about the environmental impact of the short stay with extra energy expanded on washing of linen. I would suggest that this single-night culture is driven by that most environmentally unsustainable of tourist promotions, the Wild Atlantic Way.
The underlying principle of the Wild Atlantic Way seems to be that tourists expend as much fuel as possible in their stay in Ireland, dashing between ‘gallows’ to record pictures of themselves at these pre-chosen viewpoints. To be flippant you could do it at home on Photoshop.
There are many other issues such as the inadequate provision of treatment plants for human waste from camper vans and the clogging of rural roads which are not fit for the purpose of carrying the increased traffic.
So Ms Regan-Sheppard’s suggestion of a return to regional tourist boards makes a lot of sense, for environmental reasons as well as economic. Surely with our increased awareness of the threat to the planet by the emission of fossil fuels it is imperative to promote an in-depth long stay approach in a limited area.
This would not only reduce the carbon footprint of the tourist industry but provide visitors with a more meaningful experience of Ireland’s culture.
This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 13 August 2019.