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Short Breaks Market - Ireland - July 2009

Overseas visitors, particularly those from the UK (who account for almost half of all tourists to Ireland), are finding Ireland is an expensive short break destination. The recession has caused a step change in consumer spending priorities, and the euro exchange rate makes RoI considerably less attractive to holidaymakers.

Domestic tourism has therefore taken on a renewed importance in the Irish short breaks market, with tourism companies adopting a more committed cross-border approach to Brand Ireland.

This report reviews the opportunities for operators in this market, against a background of consumer cutbacks and changing behaviour.

Key themes of the report

  • Domestic tourism new focus of Irish market – The recession has seen fewer Irish consumers travel abroad for short breaks, choosing to holiday in NI or RoI. How will this trend progress?

  • Does the exchange rate sound a death knell for incoming RoI tourism? – The UK accounts for the largest segment of visitors to both NI and RoI. With the Pound so weak, are UK consumers finding the prospect of a short break in RoI too expensive?

  • Is this an overwhelmingly city break market? – Much has been said of the potential of city breaks to Irish tourism, however, a third of visitors to Ireland come for the scenery. How is rural tourism faring?

  • Is greenness a USP? – Half of 2008 visitors to Ireland agreed with the statement ‘Ireland is a clean and environmentally green destination’ – how can this be used to full advantage?

  • Sports and event tourism – Sports events, festivals and other annual events are useful tools for attracting short break visitors to Ireland. How can this be expanded?

  • Brand Ireland – How is Ireland presented to the short breaks market? What type of characteristics are attributed to the country and how successful are they in attracting visitors?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key themes of the report
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Market in Brief

            • The recession may see a move away from short breaks
              • Reliance on domestic tourism
                • Stress is the key to the short breaks market
                • Insights and Opportunities

                  • Creative marketing
                    • A health break
                      • Sustaining demand from RoI visitors
                      • Fast Forward Trends

                          • Trend 1: Affection
                            • What's it about?
                              • What we've seen
                                • What next?
                                  • Trend 2: Learning through play
                                    • What's it about?
                                      • What we've seen
                                        • What next?
                                        • Internal Market Environment

                                          • Key points
                                            • Brand Ireland
                                              • Figure 1: Expenditure on marketing, by Irish tourism authorities, 2006 and 2007
                                            • What do overseas guests want in a short breaks brand?
                                              • Figure 2: Overseas visitor survey – What separates Ireland from other destinations, 2008
                                            • Domesticated
                                              • Figure 3: Domestic trips taken vs. international trips, by Irish consumers, RoI, 2004-08*
                                              • Figure 4: Average room prices per night of European destinations, 2007 and 2008
                                            • Cross-border tourism benefits NI
                                              • Figure 5: Cross-border visits from RoI consumers, 2007 and 2008
                                            • Day trips may lead to overnight stays
                                              • Could obesity be a boon to rural tourism?
                                                • Sports tourism a key factor in short breaks
                                                  • Bringing in huge crowds, while reaching a greater audience
                                                    • Camping things up
                                                      • Agri-tourism could fill the authenticity need
                                                        • Always take the weather with you
                                                          • Figure 6: Irish weather data – annual average figures, 2009
                                                        • Is weather holding Ireland back?
                                                          • Figure 7: Most cited disadvantages of holidaying in RoI, 2003-07
                                                        • Warm Irish weather not always a good thing
                                                          • What do consumers do while on a short break to Ireland?
                                                            • Figure 8: Main activities while holidaying in Ireland, RoI and NI, 2007
                                                          • Bus and train integral to short breaks market
                                                            • Less buses could hurt rural tourism
                                                              • Domestic tourism increases, as does car use
                                                              • Broader Market Environment

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Low short break spending expected
                                                                    • Figure 9: Economic outlook, NI and RoI, 2008-10
                                                                  • Accommodation set to suffer most from reduced PDI
                                                                    • Figure 10: What visitors to Ireland spend their money on, 2007
                                                                  • Low confidence may prevent Irish and UK holidaymakers going abroad
                                                                    • Figure 11: Consumer Sentiment/Confidence Index for 12 months ended February 2009
                                                                  • Tourism is way out of crisis?
                                                                    • NI tourism reaps the benefits of the exchange rate…
                                                                      • Figure 12: Pound to Euro exchange rate, 2003-09*
                                                                    • …while RoI suffers a drop in NI visitors
                                                                      • Figure 13: Cross-border visits, NI and RoI, 2003-08
                                                                    • Unemployment set to increase
                                                                      • An ageing population
                                                                        • Figure 14: Population estimate and projection, by age, NI, 2000 and 2020
                                                                        • Figure 15: Population estimate and projection, by age, RoI, 2000 and 2020
                                                                        • Figure 16: Forecast population change, by Irish tourism markets, by age, 2000-20
                                                                      • What does this mean for Irish short breaks?
                                                                        • Oldies skipping luxuries
                                                                        • Strengths and Weaknesses

                                                                          • Strengths
                                                                            • Weaknesses
                                                                            • Market Value and Forecast

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Tourism spending in Ireland drops in 2008
                                                                                  • Figure 17: Irish tourism market value, IoI, NI and RoI, 2003-13*
                                                                                • The RoI market is in for a bumpy ride
                                                                                  • NI targeting RoI short breakers
                                                                                    • 2008 sees visitors fall for both regions
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Total inward visits, by reason of journey, NI and RoI, 2004-08
                                                                                    • Other segments account for just under half of revenue
                                                                                      • Figure 19: Revenue, by purpose of visit, overseas tourism revenue, Ireland, 2008
                                                                                    • UK consumers account for largest proportion of overseas visitors
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Visitors to Ireland, by country of origin, NI and RoI, 2007 and 2008
                                                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • France and Spain pose the most competition for overseas visitors
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Top ten most visited countries globally, 2006
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Consumers who have taken a short break or holiday in the last 12 months, by country, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                      • Bringing Ireland to other nations
                                                                                        • Swine flu could drive the need for domestic tourism higher
                                                                                            • Figure 23: Total Number of Confirmed Swine Flu cases and deaths caused by the disease, by Country, July 2009*
                                                                                          • Worry over nothing?
                                                                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Sweets to the sweet
                                                                                                • The land of saints and scholars
                                                                                                  • Eat with a local
                                                                                                    • Bringing overseas guests as much authenticity as they can stomach
                                                                                                      • Targeting hired cars at younger travellers
                                                                                                        • Short drives on short breaks
                                                                                                          • Feeling better about your sins
                                                                                                            • Could it work in Ireland?
                                                                                                            • Companies and Products

                                                                                                                • Tourist boards
                                                                                                                  • Tourism Ireland
                                                                                                                    • Fáilte Ireland
                                                                                                                      • NITB (Northern Ireland Tourist Board)
                                                                                                                        • ITIC (Irish Tourist Industry Confederation)
                                                                                                                          • Hotel groups
                                                                                                                            • Hilton Hotel Group
                                                                                                                              • Figure 24: Hilton Hotels, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                            • Jurys Doyle Hotel Group
                                                                                                                              • Holiday Inn
                                                                                                                                • Travelodge
                                                                                                                                  • Tour groups
                                                                                                                                    • Translink
                                                                                                                                      • CIE
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: CIE operated tours, 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Paddywagon
                                                                                                                                      • Consumers and Short Breaks

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Holiday or short break a must for most Irish consumers
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Consumers who have taken a short break or holiday, by gender, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                          • Married consumers and those with families more likely to take a short break
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Consumers who have taken a short break or holiday, by marital status, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                            • End of family holidays in sight?
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Household size, NI and RoI, 2000-05
                                                                                                                                            • 35-64: the golden years for short breaks
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Consumers who have taken a short break or holiday, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                            • The older you are, the more important to have travel insurance
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Agreement with statement ‘I like to take holidays in my own country rather than abroad’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                            • Health and wellbeing short breaks could be boosted among over-55s
                                                                                                                                              • Driving most popular method of travel for Irish short break
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Travel method for a short break or holiday, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                              • Comfort a factor
                                                                                                                                                • Environmental awareness diminishing priority for Irish tourists
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Agreement with selected environment statements, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                  • The green factor could alter domestic travel
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Agreement with the statement ’I am worried about pollution and congestion caused by cars ‘, NI and RoI, 2004-08
                                                                                                                                                  • The recession fails to halt frequent short breaks
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Number of short breaks taken in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Number of nights spent away during holiday, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                    • When do Irish consumers take short breaks?
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Month when consumer has taken a holiday or short break, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                      • Festivals can ensure a spread in short breaks
                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer Attitudes towards Short Breaks in Ireland

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Relieving stress in your own back yard
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Response to the question ’What factors motivate you to take a holiday/short break in Ireland?’, NI and RoI, January 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Get away from all your troubles
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Agreement with the statement ‘Need to escape’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                            • Long time no see
                                                                                                                                                              • Housewives feel it is more important to visit their loved ones
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Agreement with the statement ‘'To meet up and see friends/family’, by working status, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                              • RoI consumers utilise their bank holidays more
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Consumers motivated to take a short break in Ireland because of a bank holiday, by working status, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                • Why aren’t NI consumers maximising their bank holidays?
                                                                                                                                                                  • NI consumers less likely to take a short break in Ireland
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Agreement with the statement ‘I don’t take short breaks in Ireland’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                    • Adventure and experience drive young holidaymakers abroad
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Agreement with the statement ‘I am interested in other cultures’, by age, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • RoI consumers’ shopping habits will help sustain NI tourism
                                                                                                                                                                        • What can be done to encourage more NI consumers to take shopping trips?
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Bus passenger journeys and train passenger journeys, NI and RoI, 2004-08
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Number of private cars registered for the first time, RoI and NI, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: NI and RoI population, by gender, 2006-20
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: NI population, by gender, 2006-20
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: RoI population, by gender, 2006-20
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Forecast population change, by age, NI, 2000-20
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Forecast population change, by age, RoI, 2000-20
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Pound to Euro exchange rate used, 2004-13
                                                                                                                                                                          • Short break in Ireland – demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                            • RoI
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                            • NI
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, NI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, NI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Agreement with short break statements, by demographics, NI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                            • TGI demographics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Consumers who have taken a short break or holiday in the last 12 motnhs, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Consumers who haven’t taken a short break or holiday in the last 12 months, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Consumers who agree with the statement ‘I like to take holidays in my own country rather than abroad’, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Main method of travel for last holiday – own car, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Main method of travel for last holiday – air (charter), by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Main method of travel for last holiday – air (scheduled), by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Consumers who agree with the statement ‘I tend to make decisions by my gut feeling’, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 64: Consumers who agree with the statement ‘I often do things on the spur of the moment’, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Consumers who agree with the statement ‘I have a keen sense of adventure’, by demographics, NI and RoI, 2008

                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                                                                          Short Breaks Market - Ireland - July 2009

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