Dublin, May 26 (Reuters) The Irish tourist visa market has been hit by a major overhaul and will see more visas issued than ever, according to a report by the travel agency and the tourism body.
Key points:Dublin to host 4,000 more tourists than it did in 2015Dublin has to work out how to cope with an increase in tourist arrivals, with the report saying this will have a direct impact on the economyDublin Tourism Board (DITB) said that it is likely that there will be an extra 1,500 visas issued every day for the next 12 monthsDublin’s economy will suffer from the increased number of visitorsThe report said there will have an impact on hotel occupancy rates, as well as on tourism receipts.
In the first quarter of 2020, Ireland’s tourist arrivals grew by 5.2 per cent, to 10.6 million.
That compares with an annual average of 6.5 million visitors in the previous three years.
However, the tourist visa numbers are expected to continue to grow and by 2027 the number of visas issued in Ireland will have increased by 40 per cent from 745,000 in 2020 to 1,100,000.
The report also predicted that the number would rise to 5,500 a day by 2021.
This means that Dublin will have to work to accommodate the extra arrivals and it will take a year or more to get there.
The report said that the increase in visitor arrivals would have a negative impact on business investment, as it would put extra pressure on the Dublin economy.
The DITB said the increased visitor numbers would also affect the hospitality sector, which could be particularly hard hit by increased visitor demand.
The number of tourist visas issued each day has also been capped at 500, meaning that hotels and restaurants have to hold on to up to 200,000 visas a day to ensure they can accommodate the influx.
In response to the report, the Tourism Board said it will work with the Minister for Tourism to develop the plan to cope.
The Department of Tourism said that a review is ongoing to identify ways to increase tourism numbers, including increasing the number and type of visas available to Dublin and the wider tourism market.
The department said that an extra 200 visas will be issued every week, and that the Department of the Environment has also made a recommendation to increase the number available in Dublin.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said that he welcomes the report and is looking forward to working with the DITD to develop a plan to manage the new arrivals.
“The DitB report provides a number of key insights into the future of the tourism industry in Ireland,” he said.
“However, I would also like to point out that there are many other things that will affect our economy in the coming months, including the new Brexit legislation and the Brexit process.”
As I mentioned before, the Department will continue to work with our industry partners to develop policies that will support the tourism sector as the new trade deals and trade agreements take effect.