Irish tourism "has to deal with" Donald Trump

Bobby Kerr tackles issues facing the industry

Irish tourism "has to deal with" Donald Trump

Tourists from Paris in Dublin's Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day | Image:

Tourism chiefs say Ireland has several obstacles to overcome this year.

Brexit, terrorism and even US President Donald Trump are seen as potential issues to getting tourists over here.

Tourism Ireland says by the end of 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors, delivering revenue of about €5.4bn.

But 2017 has brought new challenges.

A group of workers and leaders from the industry have spoken with Bobby Kerr on Down to Business about some of the issues they face.

Kevin Gallagher, trip leader with Top Deck, says terrorism could hurt us: "It's possible in Europe - for people coming from far away they may be a little worried about happened in Paris or what happened in Nice.

"Bad things can happen at any point, anywhere - if you start to let that affect your holidays, which is your couple of weeks away a year, no".

Terror attacks like those in Nice could hurt Ireland's economy | File photo 

Owner of Green Horizon Tours, Jorg Mille, agrees: "(I'm) not sure if that would affect any terrorism threats or even the Brexit - because people plan their holidays and they look forward to it".

Owner of Paddywagon Tours, Cathal O'Connell, says we need to do more in peak times: "We have hit a point where we are struggling to manage - there definitely is not enough buses in the country to deal with the amount of tourists during a six month period.

"Then of course, come the off-season, there are plenty.

"As far as terrorism, we have to look forward: in the past I've had to deal with ash clouds, foot and mouth, SARS - you name it.

"So if Donald Trump is the next worry well we have to deal with him too".

"But Ireland was voted in the top ten safest countries in the world if anything did happen".

Slieve League | Image: Tourism Ireland

He says some parts are still lacking in drawing in tourists: "Ireland along the coastline is definitely going to do very well, it's the part in the middle - we're a bit like a doughnut, there's not that much in the middle".

National Tour Guide, Colette Farrelly, says she has no issues at the moment: "The majority of tour operators have what they call preferred guides, and the majority of guides have who they call anchor clients.

"In other words I would work with Abbey Tours...they would be my anchor client and I would be their preferred guide".

Cathal O'Connell says the way they look at business has changed: "It's a battle of technology now - we're trying to get the customer, they have lots of choices in the world.

"So we've got to show online presence, we've got to be very smart with Google Adwords, to get the client we've got to be mobile friendly with our websites, etc.

"It's gone from who had the best tour guides to who has the best developers".