MARKET UPDATE
                                      SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2009

       Market Summary

       Total arrivals for October and the ten months to October are in decline comparative
       to the same periods in 2008. For the ten months to October, holiday visits, the largest
       segment, remains in decline comparative to 2008. There has however been growth in
       the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and employment segments. In the same
       period, there has been a continued decline in visits from the largest visitor age
       segment, 15 to 29 year olds. This is supported by recent Working Holiday Visa
       (WHV) grant numbers, which show that there was a 43 per cent decline in the
       number of Irish WHV grants during the three months to September.

       Consumer sentiment for travel remains low and booking lead times continue to
       contract. There is significant consumer focus on a secondary budget statement,
       released by the government in December to take effect in January 2010 with
       considerable media speculation about potential tax increases. Traditional travel
       agencies continue to close throughout the country with many chains not renewing
       their licenses for trading at this time. Tour operators are becoming increasingly
       competitive in pricing and packaging, looking for the cheapest airfares and land
       product available; this is directly linked to the current economic situation and the
       need to stimulate bookings.

       1. Market News

          •   In the year to November 2009, there was an unadjusted increase of 146,316
              unemployed Irish adults (representing an increase of 54.8 per cent compared
              to the previous year). The standardised unemployment rate in November was
              12.5 per cent. Source: 2 December

          •   Ireland ranks fifth in the world on a quality of life index but third worst among
              developed countries for poverty, a United Nations report has found. The UN
              Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2009 puts Ireland
              behind Norway, Australia, Iceland and Canada in its development index of
              182 countries and territories. On the poverty index, however, Ireland ranks
              23rd out of 25 OECD states, with more than 16 per cent of the Irish
              population recorded as living in poverty. Source: Irish Times, October 5 2009
          •   Ryanair and Aer Lingus have issued a joint statement calling for the Irish
              government to scrap its €10 travel tax which is levied on every person leaving
              Ireland by air. The airlines claim the tax deters lower earners from taking low
              cost flights and ignores the sharp decline in air fares during off peak winter
              months. Source: The Irish Examiner, October 15 2009

       2. Consumer insights

          •   More people are leaving Ireland than are arriving for the first time since 1995,
              with emigration up 40 per cent while immigration has significantly slowed.
              Many of those leaving are recession travellers dubbed ‘res-capers’ who are
              using savings or redundancy money to go on extended holidays or gap years.
              Source: The Irish Independent, October 19 2009

          •   The recession has resulted in Irish consumers becoming less willing to
              complain about products and services. According to a survey by the National
              Consumer Agency, only 69 per cent of consumers will complain when they
              are dissatisfied – down from 79 per cent two years ago. However, the number
              of people who feel hard done by hotels and restaurants has trebled from 5 per
              cent to 16 per cent in the last year. Source: Irish Independent September 30 2009

          •   The global economic crisis was accompanied by a collapse in house prices
              around the world says the International Monetary Fund and it warns that
              house prices still have some way to fall before they hit rock bottom in Ireland.
              Source: The Economist, October 3 2009

          •   A recent survey says that 96 per cent of Irish consumers are cutting back on
              grocery bills. The majority are shopping in more than one supermarket to hunt
              down bargains, using shopping lists to avoid impulse buys and switching from
              brands to own label goods. Source:, October 21, 2009

          •   The recession is forcing many Irish households to plan a thriftier Christmas
              than usual. A report from Northern Bank says that its customers are in
              cautious mood and over a third surveyed say that they are intending to spend
              less on big-ticket items such as holidays.
              Source: The Irish News, October 26 2009

          •   Irish and Norwegian travellers are Europe’s biggest spenders when travelling
              abroad, paying on average €122 per night on a hotel room, according to the
              Hotel Price Index (HPI) survey conducted by The Irish have
              retained the title for two years in a row as Europe’s biggest spenders when it
              comes to hotel rooms when they travel overseas, despite the recession. The
              figure for Irish spending habits on hotels abroad has dropped slightly to €122
              from €134 on hotel rooms per night from the previous HPI report, released in
              March 2009, which recorded activity for the period October to December 2008
              compared to the same period the year before.
              Source:, 2 October 2009
           •   The Irish consider a romantic fling an essential part of the perfect holiday with
               57 per cent admitting they have fallen for the charms of another whilst in a
               foreign land. Source:, October 13 2009

           •   More than 60 per cent of Irish consumers believe that economic recovery is
               more than a year away according to a new global survey by Nielsen.
               Source:, October 28 2009

       3. Trade Update

           •   Budget Travel, Ireland’s biggest operator, ceased trading on 25 November
               2009. The closure led to the loss of 172 jobs and the closure of 17 travel
               agencies. Source: November 26, 2009

           •   Tony Bond Travel ceased trading in October 2009, however they are hopeful
               of starting up again in 2010.

           •   Falcon Holidays have announced the closure of their retail shops, making
               around 20 staff redundant. Additionally, following the continuing worst
               summer sales ever, around 20 staff in their Dublin Head Office were made
               redundant. Northern Ireland is also facing a significant downturn in business
               and 12 staff have been let go from the call centre.
               Source: , December 2 2009

           •   As at November 2009 there were 166 Irish Aussie Specialist agents, of which
               72 per cent were fully qualified.

       4. Airline news

        None to report.

       5. Competitor news

           •   Irish tourists are travelling to New York City despite the recession. Tourist
               organisation ‘NYC Visit’ has reported that they expect the number of Irish
               visitors to the city to drop by just 5 per cent this year even though Ireland is
               has experienced a dramatic economic downturn and the Irish are travelling
               less; the Central Office of Statistics reported that Irish overseas trips during
               the first five months of 2009 were down by 10.4 per cent to 2,729,400.
               Source:, October 19

           •   The Spanish government has launched a new subsidised off-peak holiday
               program for the over 55s with all-in stays costing €365 a week. Demand for
               the Travel Senior package from Irish holidaymakers is the heaviest in the EU.
               Source: Irish Times, October 17
          •       Thailand is targeting a total of 64,000 visitors from Ireland in 2009. The 45
              plus age group is still providing the largest and most affluent group of visitors
              from the UK and Ireland. Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand, November 9
       6. Key Campaigns and Activities in Market

                                               September, October, November campaigns and activities
      START        END DATE    DESCRIPTION                                                                 TARGET AUDIENCE          PARTNERS
      7            20          USIT Co-operative Marketing campaign                                        Working Holiday          USIT
      September    September   A2 commuter cards and A2 bus interior formats across buses in Dublin,       Makers/Youth market
      2009         2009        Cork and Limerick, promoting the Working Holiday Visa to 18 to 30 year
                               old Irish consumers.

      14           12          Working Holiday Visa campaign                                               Working Holiday Makers   None
      September    October     Online campaign promoting the working holiday visa to Irish 18 to 30 year
      2009         2009        olds.

      2 November   9           Corroboree ’10: Applications open for Aussie Specialists from all over      Aussie Specialists       Qantas &
      2009         December    Europe on Trade Events Online.                                                                       Tourism Victoria
      25           25          Aussie Pub Quiz training event                                              Aussie Specialists       Etihad Airways
      November     November    In conjunction with Etihad Airways. Pub quiz format training event with
      2009         2009        questions on Australian Experiences, Maui Campervans and Etihad
                               Airways product. Main prize give-away was two free flights to Australia
                               with Etihad Airways, including a seven day campervan hire courtesy of
                               Maui. Location: Dublin
                                                             Upcoming campaigns and activities
      START        END DATE     PROJECT/EVENT                                                                   TARGET AUDIENCE          PARTNERS
      1            10           International Media Hosting Programme                                           Experience Seekers and   South Australia
      December     December     Ireland AM broadcast to visit Kangaroo Island, Adelaide surrounds and           First-Timers             Tourism
      2009         2009         Melbourne and surrounds for six morning television travelogue features.                                  Commission /
                                                                                                                                         Tourism Victoria
      16           16           New Aussie Specialist website to be launched globally. Aussie Specialists       Aussie Specialists       None
      December     December     will benefit from a new design and updated content.
      2009         2009
      21 January   21 January   Irish Travel Trade News Awards 2010                                             Travel Trade             None
      2010         2010         Tourism Australia will attend and host a table of ten trade partners.
                                Location: Dublin

      February     February     Industry meeting                                                                Travel Trade             None
      2010         2010         Tourism Australia will hold an industry meeting for trade partners to
                                update them on the Tourism Australia’s plans for the remainder of the
                                financial year and a chance for the trade to update on their activity and the
                                market. Location: Dublin

      25           7 March      International Media Hosting Program                                             Consumers                Qantas, Tourism
      February     2010         The Sunday Independent, Irish Times and The Irish Examiner national                                      Queensland,
      2010                      newspapers will be travelling to the Reef and the Rock in return for four                                Tourism Northern
                                destination features.                                                                                    Territory

To top