Fáilte Ireland is to increase the marketing of less- popular domestic holiday destinations in a bid to keep Ireland’s tourism offering buoyant in the face of outside threats such as Brexit.
It said that there is scope for growth beyond attracting peak-time visitors to traditional hot-spots.
A new study by the body shows that while sentiment among hotels and B&Bs is high, it is less positive this year than in most post-financial crisis years. An increase in visitor numbers from Germany and north America, in particular, has bolstered confidence but UK visitor numbers have declined.
Fáilte Ireland has warned that Dublin and the border counties, in particular, are likely to face further Brexit-related challenges.
Over 60% of hotels in northern counties have been affected by the sterling/ euro exchange rate this year, while 61% of Dublin hotels have seen a reduction in UK visitors.
“There is no denying that 2017 was another good year for tourism businesses, but for the first time in a few years we certainly hit some speed-bumps,” said Paul Keeley, head of business development at Fáilte Ireland.
“If we are to enjoy continued growth we need to target those markets with most potential and ensure that activity is spread regionally and across a longer tourism season. Otherwise, if future growth is simply concentrated in traditional hotspots and in the high season, we will be faced with the downsides of success — capacity constraints, congestion and a poorer visitor experience,” said Mr Keeley.