Brexit and Global Economic Uncertainty Blamed for Reduced Visitor Spend in East Cork

By Seamus Whelehan

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Brexit uncertainty and economic worries are being blamed for a reduction in tourist spending in the East Cork region.
While Ironman captivated the tourist market in Youghal, the local Visitor Centre says tourism revenue appears to be down, and a similar picture is being reported in Midleton.
Sandra McLellan, Youghal Tourism, says while the numbers to the Youghal area are substantially up on 2018 figures, visitor spending is down, despite local and international media coverage and strong investment in the local infrastructure by Cork County Council.
She said despite a lot of positive attention on Youghal Ironman, a series of Festival events over the past few months including the Moby Dick festival, Queen of the Sea, the Medieval Festival, and recent announcement of the Midleton to Youghal Greenway, “spending doesn’t reflect the numbers.”
Between May and July Youghal Tourism recorded almost 14,000 visitors to the Harbour Port compared to nearly 6,000 in 2018.
In Midleton, tourist numbers have taken a nose dive despite the recent announcement from Tourism Ireland that visitors to the Emerald Isle have increased.
The National Tourism Body says holidaymakers choosing Ireland as a destination rose by 6% in the first quarter of 2019, yet spending was down by 4% to what they have cited, a volatile global economic outlook.
Conversely, figures released to the East Cork Journal by Midleton Tourism show a 20% reduction in sightseers for May – July when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Whilst Tourism Ireland Chief Executive, Niall Gibbons, claims that the North American market continues to perform strongly with visitors and revenue number, Tony Harpur says the Chamber is seeing a noticeable drop in the number of US visitors and said it appears that British, German and American tourists are increasingly opting not to travel here.
The Tourist Ambassador said “Brexit, and a slowdown in Europe in places like Germany, coupled with a weak US economy despite how strong Mr Trump claims it is, has impacted on visitor numbers to the area”.
In 2018, between the three month period May, June and July, some 7,830 tourists travelled to Midleton, with the Tourist Office recoding 6,024 for the same period this year.
Mr Harpur said “Tourism Ireland are missing a trick” by not making more of our temperate climate. “With the two heatwaves in Europe, they should have had a package ready to invite people to Ireland to cool off.”
“We complain about our weather but we shouldn’t, because people are coming here from countries where the weather is much hotter and comment on how cool our climate is” said the Tourist Ambassador.

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