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Eamon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
The Change

Explainer: Could Garth Brooks REALLY have brought €50 million into the Dublin economy?

Probably not, but it wouldn’t have been far away.

WE HAVE ALL heard by now that no Garth Brooks equals a €50 million loss to the Dublin economy.

But, is that figure right? It’s been repeated all week, but where does it come from and, more importantly, is it right?

The figure was originally floated by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce earlier this week, and takes in all of the spending that the 400,000 attendees would have done.

That includes transportation, food and drink and accommodation, but what is the breakdown?

Dublin Chamber of Commerce say that they have a formula for calculating how the money will be spent around big events, but don’t reveal the exact breakdown.

They do, however, say that €50 million is on the “conservative” end of the estimates.

Let’s see if that figure adds up.


The Irish Hotels Federation told that they expect losses of around €20 million, so that’s 40% of the losses accounted for.

They say that figure covers accommodation, food and drink in hotels.

Based on estimates that 70,000 people would be travelling from outside Ireland, and without including those coming from elsewhere in Ireland, that works out at €285 per person. Given the average cost of a night in a hotel in Dublin, that is not an unreasonable figure.


The Restaurant Association of Ireland represents 372 Dublin restaurants. Around 210 of these are in the city centre. There are approximately 70 restaurants that are not RAI affiliated in the city.


They say that restaurants will lose out on €15 million, or €37.50 per ticket sold.

That figure is probably on the high side for just the gigs, but the knock-on effect, with people flying in for the gigs, creating extra business, it would probably land around €12 million overall.


The pub industry will feel the impact to the tune of around €15 million, the Licensed Vintners Association says. Their chief executive Donal O’Keefe said this week that the industry was becoming “events driven”.

“Events drive our business now, this has the potential to be a huge boon to the hospitality sector.

“This is still a very difficult economy for every business in the city and the Garth Brooks concerts promised a hugely significant financial boost for pubs and for the wider hospitality industry.”

€15 million seems high, if it is assumed that 75% of those attending the gigs would have been of drinking age and drinking, that works out at €50 per person on alcohol.

So, it is reasonable to assume that the figure would be closer to €10 or €11 million.


Bus companies across Ireland have reported that they had taken a massive amount of bookings and the reports across the sector are of deposits being repaid and big losses.

Alan Farrelly of Concert Bus says that the cancellations could lose the company around €30,000.

“It’s hard when you are a young company to swallow these losses,” he says.

John Usher of the Taxi Drivers’ Federation said the cancellations could cost the industry around €750,000.

He said that the Monday and Tuesday gigs would have helped on “particularly slack nights” and the knock-on of extra work at airports, train stations and ports would have been a boost.


While the Dublin Chamber of Commerce says that the figure of €50 million is conservative, there is still a gap between what is being touted and what is expected. Our tally puts it closer to €45 million.

No economist contacted by said that the figure was unreasonable, though tracking these things is difficult.

Taking into account transport and the subsequent tourism boost and added money in retail, it is not unreasonable to say that no Garth Brooks means no €50 million for Dublin.

Read: Say What? Some of the mad things public figures are saying about Garth

Read: ‘Put your country first, let Garth Brooks play’

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