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Irish tourism faces a number of challenges, ITIC warns


The Chief Executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) says 2023 showed that Irish tourism is robust and resilient but warned that the market faces a number of challenges next year.

Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said international tourists here spent about €5.3 billion this year with the US market and Canada being particularly strong.

The profile of Irish tourism hasn’t changed much over the years, he said, and the best prospects remain the North American market and continental Europe.

Mr O’Mara Walsh told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that ITIC is still hopeful of a 5% revenue growth in 2024 which would continue the sector on the path to full recovery post-Covid.

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He said the domestic data is not out yet but that it is expected to be down on ‘what was a record 2022’ as Irish people return to holidaying abroad.

He said there are a number of challenges in the domestic market and the government could move to assist in some of these.

One in five tourism bedrooms are currently contracted to the Government, he explained, and this puts a handbrake on growth.

In addition, new legislation on short-term rental accommodation will limit self catering and AirBnb supplies, he said.

New labour legislation will also add around €4bn to payrolls, Mr O’Mara Walsh said, and these costs will either squeeze margins or be passed onto the consumer – neither of which is good for business.

Mr O’Mara Walsh said there were 254,000 jobs in the sector this year.


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