Tourism growth may stall next summer, ITIC warns


Growth in Irish tourism may plateau next summer – because pent-up consumer demand, deferred hotel bookings and household savings accumulated during the pandemic will have subsided by 2023, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), has warned.

2022 is a strange and challenging year,” said O’Mara Walsh. “There’s pent-up demand, consumer savings, and travel and tourism globally has bounced back – yet the sector is struggling. By 2023, the deferred bookings and savings will have gone – so 2023 will be a much softer year.

“There are supply shortages across the board, including for accommodation. It’s a hangover from the pandemic, with demand surging just at a time when all these supply shortages are hitting us.

“We don’t expect a full recovery to happen until about 2026. It’s also difficult to judge this particular summer, which could be quite strong in terms of arrivals.”

Earlier this month, ITIC cautioned that supply bottlenecks in labour, rental cars and accommodation would restrict growth in tourism over the peak summer months.

The confederation’s research showed that cost inflation in the industry last month was seven times higher than in May 2019 – the last ‘normal’ year for the sector.

“As of last month, international tourism into Ireland is down 30pc on the year to date, compared to 2019 levels,” said O’Mara Walsh.

He said accusations of price gouging by some hotel operators and car hire firms highlighted the importance of retaining value for money in the tourism sector.

“There’s a small minority of tourism providers that are charging excessive prices – and they make social media and are doing great damage to the industry,” he says.

“Despite cost pressures and supply shortages, the vast majority are providing good value for money.

“If that value falls significantly, it’s going to make the industry’s recovery much more difficult.

“The industry and Government will need to take a long-term view about a sustainable recovery.”


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