Destination Golf Ireland 2018 * - Page 14

Ireland’s Most Popular Visitor Attractions Ireland recorded a record 10.3 million visitors in 2016 which was a growth of +8.8%, faster than European growth trends of +1.6%, earning the highest ever overseas venue of 5.3 billion euros. As part of this report, Fáilte Ireland published their annual list of Ireland’s top visitor attractions with most attractions registering strong growth reflecting the strong tourism growth in tourism during 2016. The most popular fee-paying attraction remains the Guinness Storehouse which experienced a 10% jump in visitors last year, welcoming 1.6m visitors through their gates.  Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, the National Gallery of Ireland continues to lead the way with numbers up 5% to over 755,000. Guinness Storehouse – 1,647,408 (+10%) Amongst the nation’s fee-paying attractions, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and Dublin Zoo both also registered very strong performances last year with the cliffs enjoying a particularly significant jump in business. The top five fee-paying attractions during 2016 were: Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – 1,427,166 (+14%) Dublin Zoo – 1,143,908 (+3%) Amongst Irelands ‘free to enter’ attractions, while the National Gallery of Ireland once again lead the way, there were impressive performances from the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Doneraile Wildlife Park – the latter’s 11% growth allowing it to climb the rankings into the top five free to enter sites in 2016. National Aquatic Centre – 1,037,992 (+4.5%) Book of Kells – 890,781 (+6%) Commenting on the figures, Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said – “Our visitor attractions are a great barometer for tourism activity and the growth across most attractions reflects a record tourism year. This growth can be even stronger if we all work together to unlock the further potential of our natural landscapes and built heritage. If we take a site such as the spectacular sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag, it has a similar appeal as the Cliffs of Moher – yet the latter receives eight times as many visitors. This is just one example of the many of our attractions and natural assets which have the potential to generate even more visitors, revenue and jobs for local communities. Failte Ireland is committed to work with all parties to realise the full potential of these visitor attractions, we work in strong partnership with local authorities and communities, Coillte, the OPW and the National Parks and Wildlife Service amongst others to achieve this. Together we need to do more and move faster on this agenda and we call on all those who want to grow their local tourism sector to work with us to deal with the obstacles and grasp the opportunities which are available. Ireland boasts over 400 golf courses and hosts over 190,000 golf tourists each year. Worth an estimated €200m to the economy, the sport plays a significant role in the Irish tourism industry. Ireland also has fabulous scenery, culture, some outstanding golf links with magnificent sea views, and our world-famous charm at the 19th hole. Research shows: Golfing visitors are much more likely to be repeat visitors and those who return are also very likely to play again; Amongst overseas golfers, North Americans are the biggest spenders with an average per capita spend of roughly €1,800; 12 • The National Gallery of Ireland – 755,577 (+5%) • Irish Museum of Modern Art – 584,856 (+20%) • National Botanic Gardens – 583,539 (+5.5%) • Doneraile Wildlife Park – 480,000 (+11%) • National Museum of Ireland – 479,261 (+4.8%) Approximately 21% of expenditure by overseas golfers is spent on green fees or other golf-related expenditure. This means that ancillary spend by golf tourists to Ireland benefits many other sectors, including accommodation, bars, r estaurants and attractions; As well as being a valuable sector, Golf tourism has also been outperforming the general tourism market in recent years, averaging 6% growth per annum between 2009 and 2012; Overseas golfers are overwhelmingly male and affluent, with 90% being men and belonging to the affluent, white collar ABC1 socio-economic group; In terms of age, 93% of golfers are over 35 years old, with half aged between 45-64 years old; Golfing visitors to Ireland are more likely to be travelling with friends (44%) or as a couple (28%); North Americans and mainland Europeans are more likely to travel in groups of peers, while British golfers are more likely to travel with a spouse or partner; Ireland’s golfing tourists are also avid golfers, with nearly almost 90% describing golf as important and over 60% claiming that golf was ‘extremely important’ in their choice of holiday. Crucially considering the last point, Ireland continues to utilise high-profile events to showcase its golfing product and is currently getting ready to welcome the worlds golfing stars to Ballyliffin for the Irish Open and The Open at Royal Portrush. Information sourced from Fáilte Ireland. For more information visit www.failteireland.ie