From the Cliffs of Moher to the Book of Kells, Ireland has a lot to offer in terms of celebrated tourist destinations.
But more than half our overseas visitors don’t come for the sights, the rich culture or the history.
Most of them come here just to find the nearest pub.
New research, commissioned by the Support Your Local campaign, shows that 54% of tourists ranked the pub factor as the main reason for their trip to Ireland.
The survey, carried out by iReach, sampled 500 tourists from Britain, the US, Canada, Germany, and France.
It wasn’t all about alcohol, though, as tourists did also cite Dublin’s heritage and culture as an influential factor when deciding whether to take a trip to the Emerald Isle, while our castles also played a part in enticing visitors.
Noreen O’Sullivan, a publican in Tipperary and president of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, said the survey was an important insight into the factors that drive tourism.
“The survey reinforces the centrality of the Irish pub to Ireland’s tourism product. We score highly in our reputation for drinks products and friendly character and both of these intersect in the Irish pub which is revealed as the second-biggest draw for visitors to Ireland,” she said.
While tourists may come for the pubs, they stay for the people — 61% of respondents said it is the Irish themselves that differentiates the country from other holiday destinations.
When asked what comes to mind when thinking about Ireland and Irish people, a quarter said “friendly”, almost one fifth said “beer and whiskey”, with roughly the same number saying “green grass and countryside”.
Some 12% said “fun” while ancient history, weather, and accents all received honourable mentions.
More than half of those surveyed said they would be likely to visit Irish pubs and restaurants in both urban and rural areas.
French and Germans are more likely to visit city pubs, while UK visitors showed a preference for pubs in more rural locations.
“Ireland has some 7,300 pubs, each of them playing a key role in supporting a vibrant €6bn tourism industry,” said Bart Storan, who runs the Support Your Local campaign which aims to cut the excise tax on alcohol.
“Our pubs and hospitality are renowned globally as part of the Irish character and experience. In every city, town and village, pubs are part of the unique fabric of the community, supporting jobs, catalysing spending, and sharing our story around the world.”
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