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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 20 January 2021
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Hoteliers call for greater action to attract tourists from Britain

The Irish Hotels Federation issues demands to ‘reinvigorate’ tourism marketing, after the number of British visitors fell in 2012.

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn says targeted marketing like last year's American Football game is an example that should be followed.
IHF chief executive Tim Fenn says targeted marketing like last year's American Football game is an example that should be followed.
Image: Irish Hotels Federation

THE BODY representing the Irish hotel trade has called for greater action to “reinvigorate” tourism from Britain, saying current government targets do not show enough ambition.

The Irish Hotels Federation says the number of visits from overseas residents rose by only around 0.2 per cent last year – but the British sector, which usually forms a key part of Irish tourism, saw a significant drop with 100,000 visits fewer than in 2011.

IHF chief executive Tim Fenn (pictured) said the fall was “a stark reminder of the amount of ground lost since 2007 and the urgent need to reinvigorate our most important tourism market”.

The government has set a goal of increasing British visits by 200,000 between now and 2016, but the federation believes the target is not aggressive enough given the current dip in tourism.

“A more aggressive approach needs to be adopted with campaigns aimed at attracting a greater spread of visitors to the regions and promoting specific reasons to visit – whether activity-based or focusing on heritage and culture,” he said.

Fenn said he was encouraged by figures showing an increase in visits from North America, which rose above the 1 million mark last year – figures which proved that specific targeted measures like the Emerald Isle Classic American football match were working.

Fenn was speaking in advance of the IHF’s annual conference, which begins tomorrow.

IMF figures showed that hotels had an average occupancy rate of 61 per cent last year, up from 56 per cent in 2011.

The East and Midlands region had the lowest room occupancy rates in 2011, with 55 per cent of hotel rooms going unoccupied on an average night. Dublin had the highest average nightly occupancy rate, at 73 per cent.

Read: North America ‘key to tourism growth’ as trips to Ireland up by 50,000

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Gavan Reilly

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