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Cross border tourism triples in last decade, report shows

The tourism industry across the island of Ireland is worth almost €17 billion to the economy, and supports 300,000 jobs, new data shows.

The report from Ulster University and Dublin City University highlights the value of both domestic and international tourism to the island.

It states that the sector has bounced back from the challenges of the pandemic.

“There are a couple of indicators that are still lagging behind 2019 levels,” said Ana Desmond, Senior Economist at the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, and one of the authors of the report.

“But for example if we look at the number of arrivals into airports across Ireland, those are starting to increase on pre-pandemic levels,” she said speaking on Morning Ireland.

“We see some really positive indicators, but some areas still remain a little bit sticky at pre-pandemic levels,” she added.

According to the report, the number of cross border visits made to Northern Ireland has tripled in the last decade.

Over 1.3 million people visited last year from the Republic, up from almost 400,000 in 2013.

Ms Desmond said people are travelling right across Northern Ireland, not just to Belfast.

“This is really promoting that regional growth and balance,” she said.

The report states that a range of performance gaps continue to lead to greater economic impact in the Republic than in Northern Ireland.

For example, people stay in Northern Ireland for fewer nights, which is particularly common among long-haul visitors.

Meanwhile, visitors to Northern Ireland are more likely to be visiting friends or relatives rather than on holiday or a business trip, which means less spending on things like accommodation.

Between 2013-2019, international visits to Northern Ireland increased by 33%, while visits to the Republic jumped 46%.

The research paper notes that Northern Ireland has a lower starting point for tourism growth and development, given the legacy of conflict in the region.

But it states that continued cross-border cooperation has the potential to unlock long-term growth across the island.

It recommends a number of steps to grow that cooperation – such as greater alignment in public policies and higher levels of investment.

“Cooperation will benefit both parts of the island, but given the more developed tourism industry in the Republic, it should benefit Northern Ireland to a much greater extent,” said Professor John Doyle, Vice President for Research at Dublin City University

“In order to close the gap with the Republic, public policy needs to move beyond the current levels of cooperation, to build a single tourism offering, in marketing, visa-requirements, tax and regional development policy, and, perhaps most crucially, in the perception of the visitor,” he added.

Article Source – Cross border tourism triples in last decade, report shows – RTE

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