The Future of Irish Tourism and Conclusions

  • Anne O’Brien


Irish tourism contributed significantly to both national and regional economic development until 2008, when there was a sharp reversal in trends, with an estimated drop of 1.5 million in the number of visitors to Ireland by 2010. Although industry representatives have frequently complained that their achievements have not always been fully acknowledged and recognised (Stationery Office, 2003) equally, their role in tourism development or its decline has not always been sufficiently analysed or critically appraised. This study aimed to redress that imbalance by examining the politics of tourism development and the ways in which the state interacted with political coalitions and institutions in the development of tourism. This question was considered in the context of the emergence of the tourism sector in Ireland, since its foundation in the mid-1920s, through a cycle of underdevelopment that lasted until the 1980s, which was followed by the boom in tourism growth during the Celtic Tiger period of 1987–2007 and the serious and substantial crisis that tourism faced in 2008. This crisis was far from unique to Ireland as a tourism destination. The UNWTO documented that international tourist arrivals declined worldwide by 4 per cent to 880 million and receipts dropped by 6 per cent in 2009 (UNWTO, World Tourism Barometer, 2010: 1).


International Monetary Fund Tourism Development Tourism Sector Competition State Irish Society 
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Copyright information

© Anne O’Brien 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.Kairos Communications Ltd. and National University of IrelandMaynoothIreland

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