The escalating gun violence in Dublin with the recent killings which are gang related will have a profound effect on Tourism in Tipperary. On a recent trip to Oslo, I was speaking to a number of locals who said they were travelling to Ireland in the coming weeks, however are now reconsidering their holiday plans as they view Ireland as being a dangerous place to visit following recent events.
This is somewhat concerning given many view Ireland as a volatile location given our turbulent past in Northern Ireland. The involvement of the continuity IRA brings fears that our troubled past may again make headlines across the globe.
The current violence in Dublin is after a man in his 50s being shot dead in Dublin’s north inner city last evening in what gardaí believe was a reprisal for last Friday’s fatal shooting at the Regency Hotel. He has been named as 59-year-old Eddie Hutch, a brother of Gerry Hutch, nicknamed The Monk.
Our proud county depends on Tourism. According to a report published by the Restaurant Association of Ireland, over 735 new jobs in the Food, Tourism and Hospitality sectors have been created in Tipperary since the reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced in July 2011. To highlight the scale of job creation, the Report compares the number of direct new jobs to a major local employer, revealing that the 735 extra jobs created in Tipperary is nearly the same as one and half times the number of employees also employed in Tipperary by Carey Glass in Nenagh.
97% of visitors to Ireland in 2014 rated the sense of safety and security as good or very good (2014 data. Source CSO, NISRA and Fáilte Ireland). While this is impressive we must also consider the impact to tourism in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the attacks in Novemeber 2015. Paris hotels saw occupancy rates drop 3-5 percent year-on-year between Jan. 8 and Jan. 12, according to MKG data following the Charlie Hebdo shootings so can Ireland and Tipperary expect the same following recent events in Dublin?
While the impact may not be known for a few months if tourism numbers have been hit by incidents in the capital, we must always consider that events in our county and on our small Island are watched from afar when people are choosing their holiday destinations.