Tourism Ireland: Leave vote likely to dent consumer confidence

Tourism Ireland has warned that economic uncertainty and falling value of the pound after the referendum result may mean fewer British tourists in Ireland.

Britain is the largest market for tourism to the island of Ireland, with almost 4.5 million GB visitors in 2015, a 10% increase on 2014.

Visitor numbers from Britain are up again in 2016, which looks like being another record year.

Following the British vote to leave the European Union, Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our industry relies on consumer confidence and this is likely to be dented in the short to medium term.”

He also warned about the 10% drop in the value of sterling against the euro, commenting: “British visitors to the eurozone, for the short-term, are likely to see holidays being more expensive.

“Obviously, this is not the case in Northern Ireland where we may see some short-term gains.”

He noted that the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland “is a priority recognised by all to enable the free movement of people across our borders”.

Tourism Ireland supports the maintenance of the Common Travel Area, as well as visa schemes which remain in place and help generate tourism from markets such as India and China.

He concluded: “Tourism Ireland is the agency set up under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998 to market the island of Ireland overseas.

“The vote has no impact on this matter and we look forward to working with industry partners across the whole island of Ireland to maintain the strong growth we have seen in tourism in the last number of years.”