Tourists rate Ireland as best value in over a decade

Minister Varadkar with representatives from the Castleknock Hotel, and tourism officials, at Meitheal, Ireland’s biggest tourism trade fair.

Fáilte Ireland’s new annual Visitor Attitudes Survey shows that overseas visitors rate Ireland’s value for money greater than any time in the past ten years demonstrate that Ireland is the best value for money to overseas visitors for a decade.

The survey was conducted with 1,578 overseas visitors to Ireland throughout 2012.

In terms of value for money, Ireland has improved significantly and is now receiving net positive ratings across all key markets – even in the challenging British market. Ireland’s overall net rating (when negative responses are subtracted from positives) as a value for money destination has improved at a significant rate from -11% in 2009 to +24% in 2012. For greater details of the trends in each market, click [here]

Minister Varadkar with tourism trade officials at Meitheal, Ireland’s biggest tourism trade fair.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport welcomed the findings: “This is great news in the year of The Gathering, as value for money has never been more important. We are inviting thousands of visitors to Ireland and we want them to have the best experience possible, to recommend Ireland to others and to return themselves. This news is also more evidence that Government policies to rebuild the tourism industry, including the special 9% tourism VAT rate, are working. Fáilte Ireland estimates that 5,000 extra jobs were generated in the tourism and hospitality sector last year. Regaining our reputation as a good value destination will help to sustain, and hopefully grow, the 185,000 jobs in industry.”

Other indications from the top-line results of the survey include:
• The majority of overseas holidaymakers would definitely recommend Ireland for a holiday to friends and family;

Minister Varadkar chats with tourism trade representatives.

• For overseas visitors, our people and scenery remain our main competitive advantages compared to other destinations;
• Almost all holidaymakers said that their holiday either matched or exceeded their expectations with North Americans the most enthusiastic about their trips, more than half (53%) said that their Irish holiday exceeded their expectations;
• Most overseas holidaymakers say that the opportunity to engage with friendly hospitable people and enjoy beautiful scenery were important factors when considering Ireland for a holiday;
• The internet and word of mouth are the most frequently used sources of information which influence overseas holidaymakers’ choice to visit Ireland.
For further details on the above, click [here] and the full comprehensive Visitor Attitudes Survey will be published in the coming weeks.

Minister Varadkar addressing Meitheal.

Today’s research emerges as the tourism industry gears up for this Tuesday’s (23rd April) ‘Meitheal‘, Ireland’s largest travel trade workshop in the RDS, Dublin. Meitheal allows over 400 Irish tourism providers the opportunity to meet directly with 300 top overseas tour operators with a view to negotiating business for 2014.

Meitheal, organised by Fáilte Ireland in association with Tourism Ireland which flew in the 300 top overseas tour operators, is now in its 38th year and has evolved and grown to the extent that 18 countries will be represented at this year’s event – including Ireland’s top four markets the US, UK GB, Germany and France. Delegates are also arriving from as far afield as China, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.

Anticipating the event, Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn emphasised:
“Although The Gathering is our big focus this year, the tourism industry is already planning for next year and beyond. It will be important that we maintain the momentum of the Gathering, continue to provide value and quality and manage to roll out new and exciting propositions to attract more guests to our shores. The deals struck this week will be an integral part of tourism’s recovery and growth”.

Minister Varadkar with tourism and trade officials at Meitheal.

Akin to ‘speed-dating’, the Meitheal format is based on a pre-arranged appointment system, with each supplier having approximately 65 ten minute appointments over the two days (23-24th April) with the appointments based on both suppliers and operators’ specific requests. Overall, almost 15,800 scheduled appointments will take place between the Irish trade and tourism representatives from across the globe.

In addition, Fáilte Ireland has organised a number of fact-finding tours around Ireland for overseas operators taking part in Meitheal this year, providing them a unique opportunity to sample the sights and sounds that Ireland has to offer their customers.

Date: 21. 4. 2013