New study shows Irish tourism has a bright future
NEW YORK — Tourism is the biggest business in Ireland.
But that growth is slowing in spite of the country’s sunny climate.
In a new study, the Institute of Tourism Research and the National Travel Association of Ireland found that the average tourist visit to Ireland has slowed to about 1,600 days a year, down from nearly 2,400 days a decade ago.
The decline in tourism is a result of the Irish government’s policies aimed at limiting the number of visitors to the country, said Patrick Glynn, an associate professor of tourism research at the Institute.
He said Ireland’s climate is also a major factor.
“Ireland’s climate allows for a lot of tourism but also it makes it hard to grow the tourism industry,” said Glynn.
Glynn, who is also director of the Center for Climate and Tourism Research, said the Irish economy is dependent on the tourism sector, which generates nearly a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Tourists visit Ireland for many reasons, from the sights to the music to the food.
This year is likely to be another strong one, said Glyn.
However, he warned that tourism is not immune to the effects of climate change.
It will take a concerted effort to combat the effects on tourism, he said.
Ireland has a long tradition of welcoming visitors.
While the Irish were already accustomed to the cold winters and snowfalls in winter, the climate change will make the country more vulnerable to flooding, drought and other weather events, said Dr. Gerry Lynch, executive director of Ireland’s National Travel Authority.
A similar trend is happening in Canada.