‘Silver lining’ for Irish tourism despite euro falling to $1 against dollar


There’s a “silver lining” to the euro hitting parity with the dollar because American tourists will have more to spend on vacations in Ireland this summer, the head of Ireland’s tourism confederation has said.

Eoghan O’Meara Walsh, chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, or ITIC, said the falling euro is boosting spending by American tourists.

“The silver lining is that there is better value for American tourists coming to Ireland,” Mr O’Meara Walsh said.

“We all know that tourism prices have risen in Ireland for a variety of factors mainly due to rising costs. And the strength of the dollar is obviously mitigating that to some extent,” he told the Irish Examiner.

American tourists spend more, stay longer and visit the regions more than their British and mainland European counterparts, are “engaged” and “very valuable” tourists to the industry here, Mr O’Meara Walsh said.

New figures from the Irish Confederation of the Tourism Industry show overseas tourism is recovering as air routes are restored after the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Overall, the ITIC said total tourist arrivals at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, and ferry landings, were still down 13% in June from June 2019, but that “the recovery momentum continues although cost inflation, labor shortages and capacity shortfalls all pose challenges with an uncertain outlook,” he said.

Mr O’Meara Walsh said Aer Lingus has restored much of its transatlantic capacity, while Tourism Ireland, the state agency, is stepping up its US advertising campaign this year and opening an office in San Francisco to attract more West Coast tourists.

The outlook is much more uncertain as the global cost of living crisis unfolds.

“This particular year is a strange year as there is a tremendous amount of pent-up demand, savings and deferred bookings. I think you will see the impact of the cost of living crisis and macroeconomic concerns next year” , did he declare. .

“From autumn we are a bit more worried. Next year I think will be softer for domestic tourism in all markets, so the government budget will be the most important for us” , did he declare.

Meanwhile, problems and staff shortages at Dublin Airport and other European airports have not hurt the reputation of Irish tourism, he said.

Forex traders said the euro rebounded late in Tuesday’s session after hitting a 20-year low and effectively hitting parity with the dollar as investors feared an energy crisis could tip the eurozone in the recession.

The euro was trading at $1.00005, the lowest since December 2002, after data showed German investor sentiment dipped below levels at the start of the pandemic in July due to energy issues, supply bottlenecks and European Central Bank rate hikes.

“For all intents and purposes, it has effectively reached parity,” said Mazen Issa of TD Securities in New York.

Additional Reuters reports

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