Lim­er­ick lures new wave of do­mes­tic tourists

Irish Examiner - - News - Seán McCárthaigh

Lim­er­ick surged in pop­u­lar­ity as a des­ti­na­tion for stay­ca­tions last year but neigh­bour­ing Clare fell out of favour with do­mes­tic tourists.

New fig­ures show the over­all num­ber of do­mes­tic trips by Irish holidaymakers grew al­most 3% last year to over 9.6m — an ex­tra 267,000 breaks over 2016 lev­els.

Dublin re­mains the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for hol­i­day breaks for Irish trav­ellers with al­most 1.5m trips last year — an an­nual in­crease of 4.5%.

How­ever, the num­ber of do­mes­tic hol­i­day mak­ers vis­it­ing the cap­i­tal has been gen­er­ally in de­cline since 2012 when the fig­ure stood at over 1.6m.

Cork held on to its po­si­tion as the se­cond favourite des­ti­na­tion for a stay­ca­tion with over 1.1 mt rip sin 2017, al­though num­bers were down 5.5% on the pre­vi­ous year.

Gal­way is the only other county to record over 1m do­mes­tic trips last year with num­bers up 0.5% to 1.02m.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pub- lished by the Cen­tral Statis­tics Of­fice, the least vis­ited part of the Repub­lic by do­mes­tic holidaymakers is Roscom­mon/Long­ford with just 130,000 trips recorded across both coun­ties last year — down over 4% on 2016 lev­els.

Lim­er­ick recorded the big­gest rate of in­crease in the num­ber of do­mes­tic trips last year — up 73,000 to 284,000 — an an­nual in­crease of al­most 35%.

In con­trast, neigh­bour­ing Clare suf­fered the big­gest fall in the num­ber of do­mes­tic trips — down 61,000 to 362,000 — a drop of over 14%.

Sev­eral Mid­land coun­ties also wit­nessed a strong growth in do­mes­tic vis­i­tor num­bers in 2017 in­clud­ing Laois, Of­faly, Tip­per­ary, Kil­dare and Car­low.

Along the Wild At­lantic Way, Kerry and Sligo were the big­gest win­ners with do­mes­tic trips to the King­dom up 14% to 964,000 and to Sligo up 11% to 247,000.

The CSO fig­ures show the num­ber of do­mes­tic trips has risen con­tin­u­ously each year since 2012 in tan­dem with eco­nomic growth with the over­all num­ber of stay­ca­tions up 16% com­pared to five years ago — with peo­ple tak­ing an ex­tra 1.3m breaks in 2017.

How­ever, they also re­veal that the num­ber of overnight stays by Irish holidaymakers fell last year de­spite the over­all in­crease in do­mes­tic tourist num­bers.

A to­tal of 25.5m overnight stays were recorded in 2017 — about 60,000 fewer than the pre­vi­ous year.

While the av­er­age length of a do­mes­tic trip re­mained the same as 2016 lev­els at 2.7 over nights—the fig­ures re­veal a trend to­wards more but shorter mini-breaks.

Laura Ryan, head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing with Lim­er­ick city and county coun­cil, said the re­sults rep­re­sented great news for the Mid-West re­gion.

“It’s a re­ward for a heavy mar­ket­ing cam­paign push­ing Lim­er­ick as a place to stay, es­pe­cially as a gate­way to the Wild At­lantic Way,” Ms Ryan said.

“Ac­com­mo­da­tion in Lim­er­ick can be com­par­a­tively cheaper than some other coun­ties along the coast yet we’re still a rel­a­tively short trav­el­ling dis­tance from places like the Cliffs of Mo­her.”

Ms Ryan said the re­open­ing of the five-star Adare Manor last year af­ter be­ing closed for 18 months was a fur­ther at­trac­tion.

Adare Manor, which re­opened last year af­ter 18 months, is one of Lim­er­ick’s at­trac­tions.

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