Re: Re: Welcome to Ireland’s ugly urban sprawl

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Call for ‘tourism spatial strategy’

June 20, 2005 13:12
The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation says research it has commissioned shows a fundamental change in the composition and spread of visitors to Ireland over the last five years.

The study, which looked at the regional distribution of tourism, shows that while Dublin has increased in popularity, areas outside of the capital have suffered serious losses.

As a result, the ITIC says that a ‘tourism spatial strategy’ is needed to identify the barriers to exploiting potential in the regions.

It is calling for the establishment of a Leisure Tourism Forum under the auspices of Failte Ireland, with representatives from Tourism Ireland, the Regional Tourism Authorities and the industry.

This new body would be charged with developing a new integrated programme to reverse the decline in bednights from tourists, through a national strategy ‘which exploits the complementary potential of tourism to Dublin and the rest of the country’.

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation says it wants a more focussed marketing campaign to attract car ferry and coach tour passengers. It also wants improvements to the transport system, more access for walkers and restriction on drift netting.

The research shows that the number of nights spent by holidaymakers outside the capital in 2003 was 2.7 million fewer than in 1999 – a 14% drop in demand in four years. Dublin, during the same period, attracted almost two million more bednights. Increases were reported also in the South East and Midlands East regions – 16% and 3% respectively.

The net result was a decline of 3% overall in the number of bednights by overseas holidaymakers to Ireland, despite the fact that overall numbers of visitors increased. The ITIC says this shows the impact of the trend towards shorter trips.

The report argues that Ireland has lost its positioning in key segments of the British and European markets – with two million fewer bednights spent by British visitors in the western regions. It says the loss in visitors to rural Ireland is due to the changing profile of visitors attracted from Britain, and a sharp fall-off in activity holidays from Britain, especially following the foot and mouth scare in 2001.

The ITIC says the growth in Dublin highlights that Ireland is now attracting two distinct markets – those attracted to short breaks in Dublin and urban centres, and visitors motivated by the traditional appeals of scenery and people. It adds that this is a reflection of fundamental changes in the international pattern of holidaymaking.

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