Tourism here suffers as falling sterling makes UK 'attractive'
Uncertainty over Brexit and a fall in the value of sterling is having a negative impact on visitor trade here, according to Tourism Ireland.
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show a downward trend in visitors from Britain and Europe, according to Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons.
"Figures indicate overseas arrivals increased by 2.8pc in the first seven months of 2019, around 170,600 more than in January-July 2018," he said.
"However, the month of July has shown a continuing weak trend, with a fall of 0.5pc."
There had been a "very mixed picture" in the number of visitors here since the beginning of the year, with some "continuing underlying weakness" in the number of people visiting from Britain, which grew by just 0.5pc between January and July.
The number of visitors from mainland Europe grew by just 2.2pc.
Although there was modest growth in the number of visitors from North America and long-haul markets at 6.4pc and 7.1pc respectively, "feedback from industry partners suggests weaker demand in the peak summer season and a late booking pattern, with concern being expressed for the remainder of 2019.
"The summer air access picture has been positive, with 2.5pc more seats available.
"However, air access capacity has deteriorated during the year with the discontinuation of Norwegian flights from New York, Boston and Toronto.
"The suspension of the Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing until 2020 and the cancellation of its service from Shenzhen, as well as the delayed delivery of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, has also had an impact," he said.
"Brexit certainly remains a very real and ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern, particularly in Britain and some mainland European markets."
He said the fall in the value of sterling had made holidays here more expensive for British visitors - and made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets.
"Our €12m autumn campaign is under way across the world, highlighting reasons to visit for the rest of the year," he said.
"It aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world as there is still plenty of business to play for.
"Many people are opting for shorter breaks and autumn is a good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening around the island.
"A key objective is to drive more business to our regions, throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months."