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Monday, February 18, 2013

Tourism to Ireland Surges on Tax and Visa Concessions

JacTravel, the UK-based B2B wholesaler best known for its extensive range of hotels online and inbound travel services is reporting an exceptional period of growth in tourism to Ireland over the past three years, with particularly strong growth in the past year.  Since 2009 JacTravel’s business has grown strongly but travel to Ireland has rocketed!  Irish business has increased 223%, more than double, whereas UK business has grown 111%.

JacTravel’s Growth in tourism to Ireland and Irish cities dramatically outstrips the UK

The chart above shows JacTravel’s bookings growth in different destinations indexed from an equivalent position in 2009.  Reversal of a downward trend in Irish bookings in 2010 correlates with pro-tourism measures introduced at the start of 2011.

JacTravel puts this surge in growth down to measures taken by the Irish government at the beginning of 2011 when it began to accept visitors with UK tourist visas and slashed the rates of Air Passenger Duty, from €10 in 2010 to €3 in 2011, and VAT applicable to Tourism from 21% in 2010 to 9% in 2011.

JacTravel’s booking data is significant in indicating the performance of the destination because its customer base is highly diversified, with no country or business being responsible for more than 5% of its sales.  JacTravel sells to the travel industry through traditional channels and via XML, making bookings for independent travellers and groups.

JacTravel’s Chief Executive Officer, Terry Williamson, said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the desirability of Ireland as a destination has been enhanced by the pro-tourism measures taken by the Irish government, which evidently understands the value of tourism as a great way to earn foreign currency.  Belfast (which is in Northern Ireland) has been an accidental beneficiary of this initiative because although it has not reduced taxes, it has profited from the increase in visitors to Ireland as a whole.  If Westminster were to follow Dublin’s example, our industry would be hailed for being at the heart of an export led recovery.”