B&B Ireland, the leading industry body representing the B&B sector in Ireland, reports its share of overseas visitors rose 18% to 361,084 on 2016.

CEO Helena Healy said the B&B sector has performed well. She welcomed the latest increase in the overall number of overseas visitors to Ireland revealed by the new CSO figures. These statistics show an increase of more than 3% to 8.9 billion – the highest number on record – in the number of overseas tourists visiting Ireland in 2017.

The CSO data shows that tourists spent an estimated €4.9 billion annually in Ireland – an increase of 6% on 2016.

Ms Healy said B&B Ireland saw an increase in overseas visitors of 18% in 2017, with North America, Mainland Europe, and long-haul markets all showing record growth levels. “This was a strong performance and reflects the sentiment we’ve been hearing from our tourism industry partners, both overseas and here at home.”

“The B&B sector has performed extremely well in 2017, which is testament to the quality and competitiveness of our tourism product and industry. As sterling and consumer confidence in the UK weakens due to the uncertainty over Brexit, it is more vital than ever that Ireland remains competitive.”

“The fact that the Common Travel Area has been retained and that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland are positives for Irish tourism. I welcome the Government’s retention of the tourism VAT rate of 9% as this puts Ireland on an even keel to our European neighbours.  A number of external factors have also been in Ireland’s favour, including increased air access. The 12 new weekly routes from Norwegian Air International (NAI) between Dublin and Shannon to Boston/Providence and New York as well as three departures weekly from Cork to Boston/Providence has contributed to an overall rise in passenger numbers which is benefiting the sector greatly”.

Ms. Healy also welcomed the growth in B&B Ireland’s, visitor arrival revenue, from Ireland’s two main markets -USA up 20% and France up 12%.

“The continuing growth is welcome news for all of us, and especially for communities across the country where tourism is a mainstay of the local economy and an important revenue generator”. 

Tourism bodies have hailed 2017 as “the best year ever” for Irish tourism with an estimated €6.5 billion earned from overseas tourism and the sector now employing 230,000 nationally.

2018 – a positive outlook despite challenges

Helena Healy says the Irish B&B sector is “feeling positive about 2018. B&B Ireland are investing heavily in marketing as well as working with our members to continue delivering good value for money.”

“The growth in tourism in recent times has been so great that demand has outstripped supply. This is particularly evident in terms of a shortage of B&B accommodation in Galway, Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Clare, Donegal, Antrim and Kilkenny. B&B Ireland has long advocated that additional capacity is required. The shortage of accommodation presents a barrier to reaching the full potential for increasing visitor numbers in the B&B industry where demand for this accommodation is at a peak.”